The Galle Literary Festival is an international literary festival held annually in Galle, Sri Lanka. In recent years the profile of the festival has increased substantially, with attendances by many internationally acclaimed and well-known writers, grabbing the eyes of international crowds attracting so many different people every year.
The festival was founded in 2005 by Anglo-Australian hotelier Geoffrey Dobbs, and some of the writers who have attended the festival include D.J. Taylor and Roshi Fernando, Tharoor, Shyam Selvadurai and many more.
However, in 2011 the festival hit a set back when a number respected writers including Kiran Dessai and Novel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk boycotted the event to protest against the Sri Lankan Government’s alleged involvement in attacks on journalists and writers.
A list of well-known writers and musicians at the festival held in 2012 included Tom Stoppard, Richard Dawkins, Simon Sebag Montefiore, David Thompson, and Jason Kouchak.
This year, the Fairway Galle Literary Festival (FGLF) is continuing its momentum of the 2017 Festival, with enduring themes of a variety of programming, international and local authors participating in the event and a variety of other performers as well.
The festival goer will have discussions, debates, panels, literary awards, tea and poetry readings, cookery demonstrations, gourmet events, performances and live music by local and international individuals of a wide variety to look forward to.
Local fans will be excited with the news that FGLF will welcome Dame Maggie Smith, one of the greatest actresses of her generation. The Oscar-winning British actress, known greatly for her role as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films and the imperious Dowager Countess of Grantham in the hit British TV series Downton Abbey, will be exploring the skills of comedy acting at the FGLF. She is also a four-time Bafta winner, and fans will also recall her memorable performances as a homeless old woman in The Lady in the Van (2015) and as Muriel, the retired housekeeper in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and its sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015).
Apart from the brilliant Dame Maggie Smith, the second announcement of participants in the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, made this week includes writers of fiction and of memoir, lawyers, diplomats, journalists, editors, performance poets, curators, architects, historians and economists.
Sir Desmond de Silva’ssolo performance “Desmond Uninterrupted’ promises to be one of the sought after events of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival. Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane’s presentation of three murder cases will afford the audience a nuanced appreciation of the human complexities of the judicial system, and of the challenge of balancing a concern for victims with society’s desire for closure.
A familiar figure in Sri Lanka, former Indian High Commissioner Nirupama Menon Rao, who went on to become Foreign Secretary of India, will speak about her new book on Sino-Indian relations, while Kiryl Rudy will delve into behaviour economics and the nudge theory, currently in the forefront of international economic discourse.
History will be brought to life by Nisid Hajari, author of “Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition,” winner of the 2016 Colby Award,
Visiting journalists Justine Picardine and Rachael Johnson will bring their wide experience of journalism and editing to the FGLF 2018, while Australian Sallyanne Atkinson will share her experience as the first female Lord-Mayor of Sydney. Sallyanne grew up on a tea estate and will also share her experience of this distinctive lifestyle.
Two hundred years and two months since the remarkable English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote his seminal “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”, Rev. Dr. Malcolm Guite, Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge, will offer insights of his new study of Coleridge’s famous narrative poem, revealing the remarkable continuing freshness and relevance of the mariner’s message.
German writer Michael Kumpfmüller who joins FGLF through the sponsorship of cultural partner, the Goethe-Institut will speak about his exquisitely written novel based on the last year in the life of Franz Kafka. “The Glory of Life”, the events of which take place in 1924, the same year as the Olympics on which ‘Chariots of Fire’ is based, is a stunning testimony to the ordinariness of true beauty, and of how much closer to our reach it maybe than we so often think. Like Maylis de Kerangal, whose visit is made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Alliance Française de Kotte, Michael will also conduct writing workshops.
Performance is an important part of the Festival, and the celebrated contemporary Bangladeshi band Chirkutt, who will be at FGLF courtesy the High Commission for Bangladesh, will perform twice during the Festival, as will performance poet Carlos Andres Gomes. The participation of the piano duet of Ivana Alkovic and Maarten den Hengst has been made possible by the Dutch Embassy.