This year’s Galle Literary Festival has seen a record number of ticket sales where local and international participants eagerly anticipate what has been called by some acclaimed authors, the best literary festival in the world.
Due to take place from 26th January to 30th January in Galle for the 5th consecutive year, this year will see the largest number of participants estimated to be over 3000 with around 65 acclaimed authors from all continents, organizers of the Galle Literary Festival said.
‘There has been much enthusiasm this year to attend this festival and all Hotel rooms in Galle are already booked’, the Festival’s Events Director Kishani de Silva said.
Literature enthusiasts abroad continue to buy tickets online and there will be an increase in local participants as well with peace being restored in the country.
Commenting on the call for boycott by some international writers, Founder of the Galle Literary Festival Geoffrey Dobbs said, ‘It is unfortunate and ridiculous that some writers are appealing a boycott. Action such as this does not help as we are trying to build bridges through this Festival. It has always been a forum for freedom of expression, there is no censorship at all’, adding ‘most intelligent people will realize that such people are trying to get a platform by using events as successful as this to get reported in the media’.
‘I invite those who make allegations against the Festival from abroad to come and present their views. We would be happy to hear their ideas’, Dobbs said emphasizing, ‘I welcome criticism and they should speak out. This Festival is a platform to speak’.
We want to be positive and promote discussion and pluralism, and encourage people to talk to each other, he added.
The Festival through its outreach programme promotes ethnic harmony, Events Director said. Students from the North and East Universities will join with students of Southern Universities in a process of learning during the festival including team building workshops.
The Festival has gained accolades from world renowned authors such as Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin and Vikram Seth.
Galle Literary Festival 2011 will see Nobel, Booker, Orange, Whitbread, Commonwealth and Gratiaen Prize winning writers, historians, poets and biographers from Nigeria, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, India, Pakistan, Canada, England, United States, South Africa, Turkey and Sri Lanka converging upon the World Heritage City of Galle to participate in four days of solo and panel discussions, workshops, concerts and events. Noted Sri Lanka author Shyam Selvadurai will be the Festival Curator.
Participating writers will include Orhan Pamuk, Kiran Desai, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mohsin Hamid, Jung Chang, Andrey Kurkov, Damon Galgut, William Fiennes, Charles Allen, Pankaj Mishra, Tash Aw, Jill Dawson, Pauline Melville and Sri Lankan local and Diasporic writers Karen Roberts, Randy Boyagoda, Liyanage Amarakeerthi, Prashani Rambukwella, Roshi Fernando, Ranjini Obeyesekere and many more. Poets will include Daljit Nagra, Roger McGough, Omar Musa, Vivimarie VanderPoorten and Tishani Doshi.
The 2011 festival will introduce a new spotlight on Malaysia with Malaysian writers, poets and chefs providing a glimpse into the country’s multi-ethnic society.
The BBC World Forum will have a special discussion on the festival which will be broadcast to over 40 million listeners.
The children’s programme will see children’s writers Shamini Flint and Prashani Rambukwella leading workshops in writing and other activities. Children will have the opportunity to improve their English and learn about literature from local and foreign writers at the festival.
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