In Preparation: Galle Literary Festival 2010

11 November, 2009

There’s only two and a half months left before I fly off to sunny climes and needless to say I CANNOT wait. London has become extremely chilly all of a sudden and I’m missing my sunshine. My fingers feel frostbitten without gloves and my head is missing my hat. OK, so I’m a hypochondriac and it’s not really that bad, but seriously, I feel I’ve forgotten what Winter is like. Everything seems new and fresh this year. The cold, the sudden darkness, this feeling of mono no aware. I kind of like it. Makes me feel all tingly and alive.

So, I’ve just realised that two and a half months isn’t really that long for the list of books I’m planning to read in preparation for the Galle Literary Festival 2010 at the end of January. I still have my stash of Sri Lankan/diasporic literature safely tucked away on my TBR shelf and I think I really ought to clear some of it before I go. I have the following titles and if I’m organised, maybe I’ll get through half of them:

On Sri Lanka
All is Burning by Jean Arasanayagam
When Memory Dies by A. Sivanandan (an interesting essay here)
The Banana Tree Crisis by Isankya Kodithuwakku
Mosquito by Roma Tearne
Bone China by Roma Tearne
The Far Field by Edie Meidav

And also:

On Asia/India
East of the Sun by Julia Gregson
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Maharanis by Lucy Moore
The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt

If I can read about half the books on this list by the time I’m on that plane, then I’ll be happy. I’ve had most of these books for a year and feel slightly ashamed that I actually bought some of them the last time I was in Sri Lanka a year ago….what can I say? I’m easily distracted.

But I did finish two collections of short stories The Good Little Ceylonese Girl and Colpetty People by Ashok Ferrey which were delightful. And if I have time, I might reread Shyam Selvadurai’s Cinnamon Gardens as he will be one of the participants at the upcoming GLF. And can I also mention my favourites Romesh Gunasekara, Michelle de Kretser and Michael Ondaatje? I might try and dig out Michelle de Kretser’s first novel The Rose Grower to read if I can find it as it’s somewhere in storage at my sis’.

No doubt I will be buying a lot more books in Sri Lanka. The Perera Hussein Publishing House always brings out a nice selection of fiction into the world, and I love going to the bookshop at the Barefoot Gallery to browse their incredible array of books on Sri Lanka. And my father has promised that he will take me to a street of secondhand booksellers near the Fort, an area of Colombo that we had been increasingly avoiding due to the occasional bombs during the conflict but which we used to frequent when I was a child. This year I’m taking my Sony e-reader and one big fantasy book (it’s Steven Erikson vs. George R.R. Martin at the moment) so I’ll have loads of space in my suitcase to bring back any interesting finds!

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3 Responses to “In Preparation: Galle Literary Festival 2010”

  1. Aarti Says:

    This book has very little to do with your post at all (or nothing), but I must say every time I see your blog, I think “chasing brother in law” as that is what bawa means in the language my parents speak 🙂

    I haven’t read any of the books on your list, so I look forward to your reviews!

  2. chasing bawa Says:

    Hi Aarti, I’m not exactly sure what Bawa means either but the Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa after whom I’ve named my blog is of mixed Sri Lankan and European descent and designed many beautiful buildings in Sri Lanka incorporating history and nature and bringing out the beauty of the land. I’m looking forward to reading the books too! And also the books for the Women Unbound Challenge!

  3. eriko Says:

    so many titles!
    made me want to reread “Cinnamon Gardens”, which i read for the first time when i visited the characterful country.

    my favorite so far is Ondaatje’s charming “Running in the family”, which i encountered by Meera’s recommendation. i’ve tried a few other titles by Ondaatje that gave me insight to the history and culture of the country, but with difficulties understanding due to lack of background etc.


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