The Fairway Galle Literary Festival made a spectacular return in 2016 after a 3 year hiatus.
Since it’s beginnings in 2007, the “Galle Lit Fest” has grown into becoming one of the premiere international cultural events celebrating writing and literature from around the world, so much so, that in 2011, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine UK dubbed The Galle Literary Festival as the “No.1 Literary Festival in the world”.
At a press conference held at Barefoot Gallery in August 2015, festival director Amrita Peiris detailed the festival’s ambitious agenda for it’s comeback in 2016 with the support of the title sponsor Fairway Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.
The 2016 Fairway Galle Literary Festival (FGLF) would comprise of two mini-festivals in addition to it’s main festival which takes place in and around the historic Dutch Fort in Galle, Sri Lanka.
The first of the mini-festivals would take place in the hill country of Kandy and the other in Sri Lanka’s northern province of Jaffna.
The 2016 FGLF, was also the venue for the presentation of the inaugural Fairway National Literary Award which recognized the best Sri Lankan novel in the languages of Sinhala, Tamil and English; and the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Co-founder of the DSC Prize, Surina Narula (MBE) was in attendance to make the announcement.
The official reveal of festival participants was announced in November 2015, at a press conference which took place at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo with founder Geoffrey Dobbs in attendance.
International best selling authors Sebastian Faulks, Meera Syal, Hugh Thomson, Tom Holland and Amitav Ghosh were introduced along with the likes of celebrated stage and screen actress Fiona Shaw, Michelin star chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry Gregory Pardlo to name but a few of the festival’s distinguished participants.
The announcement was accompanied by a live streaming Instagram event under the hashtag #GLF2016. (Follow the Galle Literary Festival on Instagram: @gallelitfest)
The first event on the festival program took place from January 8th – 10th 2016, in Kandy. The event’s participants included celebrated architect, Channa Daswatte, Sebastian Faulks, Ovidia Yu, poet Omar Musa and explorer Hugh Thomson who along with festival founder Geoffrey Dobbs and festival curator Shyam Selvadurai, journeyed up to the beautiful hill country by train.
With preparations in place, the main festival came to life on January 13, 2016 in the heart of the historic Galle Fort with incredible cultural extravaganza performed by artists and dancers from the Sri Lanka Army.
The FGLF 2016 took place over a 4 day period bringing together authors, performers, and artists who met for conversations that covered their work and interests, with a well-read and engaged public from all over the world. The small size of the fort allowed audience-to-author interaction both on and offstage.
The Festival also featured workshops and creative writing avenues, which served to stimulate and motivate literary activity in attendees.
A celebrated signature feature of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival is the hosting of gourmet lunches and dinners in private villas and boutique hotels in and around the Galle Fort. At these events an author dines and converses with a small group of his or her avid readers. The 2016 FGLF hosted 28 of such events.
The Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2016 hosted 83 participants both local and from around the world. Authors, historians, explorers, environmentalists, actors and poets took part in 102 sessions across the 10 days of the festival.
The winners of the inaugural Fairway National Literary Award 2015 were announced on Friday January 15, 2016. Sepali Mayadunne’s ‘Maha Sami’ was declared the winner in the Sinhala category with Rizwina Morseth De Alwis (It’s Not In Our Stars) and Ayathurai Santhan (Rails Run Parallel) emerging as joint winners in the English category. The “Fairway Literary Encouragement Award” was presented to 15 year old Sajani Jayathma Senanayake.
On Saturday January 16, 2016 The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 was awarded to FGLF 2016 participating author Anuradha Roy for her novel Sleeping on Jupiter, which deals with the subject of violence against women. The award was presented by Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
A brief overview of what was FGLF 2016 …