The Sunday Leader

An Arbitrary A-Z Of The Galle Literary Festival 2010

A splendid afternoon to walk out.

So starts A Time Of Gifts, in which renowned travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor records his walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople.  He set out on December 8,1933, with war brewing in Europe.  He was 18 and armed with The Oxford Book Of English Verse.  Later, during the Second World War Patrick Leigh Fermor was responsible for the daring capture of a German General.  Artemis Cooper is writing the official biography of this remarkable man who is now 94.  She comes to the Festival to speak about his story and her experience of working with him. This event will take place on Saturday, January 30, 11.15-12.15, at the Maritime Museum

Botanical Gardens

Did you know that the Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya turn 200 in 2010?  Planned as the tropical counterpart to Kew Gardens in London, ‘The Gardens’ have now taken firm root in the landscape of Sri Lanka.  Come and hear the current Director of the Gardens, Dr. Siril Wijesundara, tell the story of how it was planned and grown. This event will take place on Saturday, January 30, 10-11 am, at The Amangalla.


At the opening of the Galle Literary Festival 2009 Shehan Karunatilaka read ‘Sport v. Life’ a chapter from his novel in manuscript about ‘Sri Lanka’s greatest cricketer never to achieve stardom’.  He went on to win the Gratiaen Prize 2009 for this manuscript.  At the Festival he will tell us more about Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew.  Writers Diran Adebayo and Amit Varma (one of the founding editors of Cricinfo India) are also keen to meet Shehan and talk cricket.  Perhaps we could get enough people together for a game? Shehan Karunatilaka will speak about his book on Sunday, January 31, 10-11am, at the Hall de Galle.

Crime Writing

Award-winning detective writer Ian Rankin has recently retired his most famous character: John Rebus.  At the Festival he will speak about the Rebus series — how it began and how it ended — and give you some tips for starting on your own crime writing.  We’re proposing to do this over famous detectives’ favourite drinks.  Anyone know which whisky John Rebus preferred? This event will take place on Sunday, January 31, 6.30-8.00pm, at the Galle Fort Hotel

Diran Adebayo

Diran Adebayo, is best known for writing about the urban black experience of London.  Diran Adebayo will join Claire Tomalin and Rana Dasgupta to discuss the Lives of Cities on Sunday, January 31, 11.15-12.15, at the Hall de Galle .


The writer Louise Doughty comes from a long line of Romany gypsies whom she has written about and re-invented in her books.  She has drawn on her own grandparents as characters and also on the history of the Romany people and their largely ignored persecution in Europe, right up to the present day. Louise Doughty will speak on the subject on Sunday, January 31, 11.15-12.15, at the Maritime Museum.

Kite Flying

The Festival celebrates the publication of Keerthihan’s Kite, a trilingual picture book – in English, Sinhala and Tamil.  Two years in the making, the book is about a boy living on Sea Street who wants to make a high flying kite.  It is designed both to entertain children and to be a useful tool in teaching and learning all three languages.  At the Festival the book will be used in a trial trilingual language lesson, and followed by kite-flying for all on the ramparts. This event will take place on Friday, January 29, 4.45pm, at the Maritime Museum, following on to the Ramparts.  We’ve checked the winds for the best place to fly kites in Galle Fort!

Independent Publishing houses

The Festival will also have small independent publishing houses represented in the ranks of its participants this year.  Blaft Publications, which publishes Indian pulp fiction, will be featured at the Festival, as will Tulika Books, a new publisher of children’s books. Coming from furthest away are representatives of McSweeney’s Publishing.

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