“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
The great American story-teller Ursula le Guin’s observation takes us to the very heart of why The Fairway Galle Literary Festival occupies such an integral and compelling space in Sri Lanka’s cultural calendar and in our collective imagination. This opportunity to share the narrative instinct so distinctive to humanity has become an eagerly anticipated and much discussed event played out annually in the historically charged and delightfully evocative maritime city of Galle.
With the tenth iteration of The Festival just weeks away, all roads lead to Galle for a number of writers, artists and musicians from all over the world. Many of these names have already been made public and are the subject of press interviews, articles and the private reading of those eagerly preparing to attend FGLF 2019. We are delighted additionally to announce the participation of Nicole May, a performance poet from the UK whose appearance at FGLF 2019 will herald the beginning of a three-year British Council project on Performance Poetry in Sri Lanka. We are thrilled that The British Council, the sponsor of Nicole’s participation in the FGLF, has chosen the Festival as the launching ground for this important and ground-breaking project.
With the ink scarcely dry on his most recent work, Red Birds – published in October 2018 – Mohammed Hanif is in high demand at the world’s top literary festival and we are delighted that he will join us in Galle to discuss the novel fellow Pakistani-British writer Kamil Shamsie describes as “an irreverent, anarchic, comic, savage and humane ride, as only Hanif could write it”. Award winning journalist Suzy Hansen will bring to Galle the experience that led to her Notes on a Foreign Country. This brave and honest portrait of the writer’s journey to a discovery of her own country, America, while resident in Istanbul, makes an enormous contribution to our understanding of the stories we construct about ourselves and the way in which time and travel unravels these.
The literary history of Galle will be brought to life by an Exhibition about the famous Swiss writer Nicolas Bouvier, who lived in Galle for several months and later wrote a novel called Le Poisson Scorpion. This Exhibition will involve readings from the work, both in French and English, and is brought to us by cultural sponsor The Alliance Francaise de Kotte.
As always, music will play a seminal role in the Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2019. Soul Sounds, the choir sponsored by the title sponsor Fairway Holdings, will present a new repertoire, whilst The Chamber Music Society of Sri Lanka, under the direction of Lakshman Jospesh de Saram and the sponsorship of Fairway Holdings will perform in the Dutch Reformed Church in Galle. A new addition to the musical offerings this year is the Choir of The Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour, the members of which will sing under the direction of Ishan de Lanerolle at All Saints Anglican Church in the Fort.
FGLF 2019 promises to be a lively, interactive and engaging five days of listening, discussion and debate, as some of the world’s most articulate and thought-provoking writers stimulate us to look anew upon the world around us but also just to relax and savour a festival of the arts set in a stunning setting.