In Preparation: Galle Literary Festival 2011

13 January, 2011

I wasn’t sure whether we would be going to the Galle Literary Festival on my annual trip home to Sri Lanka next week. But my father seems keen and we’ve bagged ourselves a lovely room in the middle of the Fort so it’ll be a nice little holiday away for the three of us.

And what a line-up there is! I cannot wait to see Orhan Pamuk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Jay McInerney even though I haven’t read anything by them yet. Plus a whole host of others including my favourite Shyam Selvadurai! I’ve also got books by Tash Aw and Tan Twan Eng on my shelves which I really must read before I head off on holiday. Plus I’ve been curious about Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh mysteries which I had no choice but to hunt down now:)

So, it’s time for another list of books I’m thinking of reading in preparation for the Galle Literary Festival 2011. Last year I think I only managed to read one book from my list. GAH. Not impressed. Maybe this year I’ll manage to read two, ha ha.

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw (I loved Aw’s The Harmony Silk Factory which I read a few years back. Beautiful writing.)
Bone China, Brixton Beach or The Swimmer by Roma Tearne
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
My Name is Red or The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk!

Last year I took my Sony e-reader which I didn’t open once. Ho hum, I’ll take it again but I’m going to resign myself to reading paperbacks. I’m contemplating taking at least one fantasy book, but which one? George R.R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings or Steven Erikson’s The Deadhouse Gates. (I know, I know, I did that last year, but have you seen how many volumes there are in each series?!) Erikson is doing a signing at Forbidden Planet next month so I’m edging towards him at the moment. Plus I need to take at least one mystery. Decisions, decision.

I’ll also be hunting down lots of Sri Lankan fiction. Sadly as I don’t read any Sinhalese or Tamil, they’ll all be in English:( But I’ll be looking for local authors and who knows who I will discover at the festival? The best thing about literary festivals is that you have no idea who you might stumble across. And it’s always so exciting when you find an author who is completely new to you that charms the socks off you such as Tahmima Anam, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Pico Iyer.

So, is there anyone from the 2011 GLF participants you are particularly keen for me to look out for? I’m all ears!

18 Responses to “In Preparation: Galle Literary Festival 2011”

  1. Vindi Says:

    I am so incredibly jealous!! I’ve just gotten back to Britain wishing my break was a few weeks longer just so that I could make it to Lit Fest. Have a wonderful trip and look forward to reading all about it 🙂

    ps- You must check out Mohsin Hamid! Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist were both great. As for local writers: Manuka Wijeysinghe’s Monsoons and Potholes might be one of wittiest books I have read! It was a fantastic read and she has been involved in fringe events in the past years but not sure about this year. Definitely check out the book though 🙂

    • chasing bawa Says:

      Shame you couldn’t be there:( Maybe once you finish your studies! Something to look forward to, right? I haven’t read anything by Hamid or Wijeysinghe but I’ll keep my eyes peeled and my wallet ready. Thanks for the recs Vindi.

  2. Fëanor Says:

    Ahoy there, CB! Have fun on ze trip. Btw, have you heard of your countryman Shehan Karunatilaka? About to make a big splash at the Jaipur Lit Fest, I hear. Will you be blogging from Galle?

    • chasing bawa Says:

      Ah will! Actually I think I saw Karunatilaka give a talk last year and he was very funny indeed. But as I’m still a cricket novice (I only watch the world cup 20/20 series which is the limit of my concentration), I didn’t pay much attention. But then, I think he won a prize while his book was still in manuscript form, so no wonder he’s creating a big splash in Jaipur! As I’m a luddite without a smart phone, I’ll probably be blogging once I get back to Colombo. But I’ll try:)

  3. Tony Says:

    I remember your post about the festival last year, and I envy you your jetsetting ways (with a couple of small children, our travelling days are well and truly over…). Have fun 🙂

  4. novelinsights Says:

    I really loved Half of a Yellow Sun. Enjoy your trip Sakura!

  5. Eva Says:

    Sounds like a very fun event. 😀 I loved Half of a Yellow SUn and Gift of Rain! I’d highly recommend going with My Name is Red over Black Book for the Pamuk; I’ve read them both and think My Name is Red was much easier to connect with. 🙂 I read Tearne’s Mosquito last year and enjoyed it; I’ll probably read more of her this year. And it sounds like I need to give Tash Aw a go!

  6. What a fantastic line-up indeed! I’d also be keen to see Judy Fong Bates and Lawrence Hill (because I’ve raed bits), as well as Jill Dawson and Pauline Melville (although I haven’t read bits, but have been intrigued all the same). I’m sure you’ll find some new faves!

  7. chasing bawa Says:

    Tony: I’m lucky it’s where my parents live plus it’s when I take my annual leave:) Once your kids grow up you can take them with you on holiday!

    novelinsights: Hopefully I’ll get to finish it before I see Adichie. See you when I get back Polly!

    Eva: Thanks for the tip, I think I’ll start with My Name is Red then:) I still haven’t read The Gift of Rain so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    BuriedInPrint: I hope I find some new and untried author. It’s amazing what seeing them talk can do to increase your interest. I’m also quite intrigued by Laurence Hill too.

  8. mee Says:

    I’ll be very interested to know what you think of Gift of Rain and Map of Invisible World as both have been my radar for a while (and both are Malaysians).

  9. itoeri Says:

    you already have a long list for me to check!
    enjoy the fes and the sun!!

  10. iqbal Says:

    Could you please tell me about allocation of bookstalls at this festival. Are there stalls for booksellers? ,Ifso, the space and cost.

    • chasing bawa Says:

      Hello. I’m just a visitor so I have no idea about the logistics of the festival. You’re probably better off contacting the festival organisers. From my past visits, I know there are stalls to buy the books by the authors who are featured in that year’s festival programme.

  11. So you are here! You should try Shehan’s Chinaman! And may be Chucking the Dragon by Mark Wild which gives a comprehensive idea about Sri Lankan adolescent life! 🙂

    Enjoy your stay here! 🙂

    • chasing bawa Says:

      I’m not there yet, will be flying on the 20th. I’ve heard of Chinaman but have not heard of Chucking the Dragon. Needless to say I will be checking both out:) Thanks for the rec!

  12. Jack Point Says:

    If you think the call for the boycott of the literary festival was wrong, please join and add your friends to the Facebook group below.

    Sunila Abeysekera, an award winning human rights activist makes a good case as to why the boycott call was a mistake, see her letter here:

    My own argument against the boycott is here:

    This years festival went well, but if properly organised next years could be sunk by a boycott, which would be a pity. About 312 people so far have signed the RSF appeal, we are hoping to grow this group to something larger than that. If each new member can add 5-6 friends we will be there.

    “Whether you like the literary festival or not, whether you support the government or not, if you feel that Reporters without Borders’ boycott was damaging to the cause of free speech, please join this group, to prove that most people oppose the boycott.”

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