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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

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Stage set for GLF 2011

Literary enthusiasts stand strong despite brewing storm :

Orhan Pamuk and Kiran Desai may have backed out of the Galle Literary Festival 2011 but many renowned word smiths and budding young writers are on their way to attend the literary extravaganza which had been dubbed one of the most looked forward to events in the country’s literary calendar.

GLF duds

Galle Literary Festival spokesmen say that prize-winning novelists Orhan Pamuk and Kiran Desai are unable to attend because of Indian re-entry visa regulations. Some rights groups have urged authors to boycott the event claiming that Sri Lanka restricts freedom of speech. Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy and Ken Loach are among those backing a boycott. There is no indication that the campaign had anything to do with the withdrawal by Nobel laureate Pamuk or his Indian partner and Booker prize winner Desai. The couple are currently taking part at Jaipur literature festival in India.

Audience at a literary session

GLF will open its fifth chapter this year with the spotlight being focused on Malaysia. The country’s multi ethnic society and lifestyle will be brought to Sri Lanka by the writers, poets and chefs as round table readings, breakfast book clubs and tea with poets have been newly added to the schedule.

Another new feature will be the BBC World Forum. This brings forth innovative thinkers with new ideas. It is hosted by the diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall which will be broadcast on the channel to over 40 million listeners.

One of the key events this year is the Sex in the Sarong Dinner with Candace Bushnell and Jay Mclnerney in Taprobane Island. Participants can dance the night away at Aqua, the newest botique hotel on the Thalpe Riviera or listen to the De Lanerolle brother’s jazz tunes at The Sun House, Dick’s Bar. Chef Skye Gyngell who will be won recently won the ultimate gourmet accolade for her no nonsense and simple lunches at her Richmond London based restaurant will be giving a cooking demonstration on January 28 and hosting a dinner on January 29.

Some of the other writers who will be featured at the festival include Jill Dawson, William Fiennes, Damon Galgut, Philip Hoare, Sarah Dunant, Guy Delisle, Preeta Samarasan, Tishani Doshi, Daljit Nagra, Yvani Deraniyagala, Farish NoorJung Chang, Omar Musa, Lliya Troyanov and others.

The outreach program for children is an event which had captured masses. Creative writing workshops, debating tournaments, art exhibitions and training development programs for teachers have seen thousands of participants. The team even conducted a creative writing competition for around 230 students who took part in the events and the winner will be given the opportunity to read his or her story at the festival.

The North-South University Collaboration which is sponsored by the American Centre will see university students from the North, East and South taking part in the festival. The students are elected to reflect the linguistic, ethnic and social diversity of the country and gain better understanding through interaction.

GLF 2011 will run for three days from January 26 to 30.

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