“A literary festival in a medieval fort. Palm trees and sunsets over the Indian ocean; poets and jazz singers; book lovers from Sri Lanka and around the world. What not to like! Galle was the most magical literary festival I have ever been to … I didn’t want to leave.”
– Christina Lamb (#FGLF2017)
Christina Lamb OBE, participated at the 2017 Fairway Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka.
She is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents, having won the Foreign Correspondent of the Year award – five times, and the bestselling author of several books, including I am Malala, which she co-wrote with Malala Yousafzai.
Her events at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, included:
- A LITERARY DINNER: An Evening with John Gimlette and Christina Lamb
- FAIRWAY GALLE LITERARY FESTIVAL PANEL: Faraway Places with Strange Sounding Names: Travel writing with Katherine Boo, John Gimlette & Christina Lamb
- IN CONVERSATION: Christina Lamb on ‘I am Malala’ and ‘Nujeen: One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair’
“I never set out to cover conflict or war … I actually really just wanted to be a novelist.”
Christina Lamb has reported from most of the world’s hot-spots starting with Afghanistan after an unexpected wedding invitation led her to Karachi in 1987 when she was just 22. She consequently moved to Peshawar to cover the mujaheddin fighting the Soviet Union and within two years she had been named Young Journalist of the Year.
Her assignments have seen her narrowly escape danger on several occasions, notably, in 2007 she was on-board a bus which was attacked during an attempt on the life of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, which left at least 180 people dead.
In an interview with the Khaleej Times, Christina explains that she never set out to make a career out of journalism, but over the years – driven by a passion for storytelling – she has traveled the globe, giving a voice to the voiceless in often dangerous, life-threatening situations.
“You’re meeting people living on the edge in really dramatic circumstances, and it’s very difficult sometimes to go back to everyday life after doing that”.
“Also, the world is a much messier place. There are more wars going on now than ever in my lifetime. If you want to cover major foreign issues, that means going into dangerous places”.
Over the years, work such as hers has become more dangerous, as extremist groups and governments increasingly turn their weapons on journalists.
“If they kill a soldier, it doesn’t make headlines – If they kill a journalist, it makes headlines … and they don’t differentiate.”
Despite the difficult situations that she often reports on and writes about, Lamb said she does what she can to find the uplifting and positive stories that can arise from tragedy, such as the tale of Nujeen Mustafa.
Nujeen: One Girl’s Incredible Journey From War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair published by Harper Collins, is Christina Lamb’s newest book which recounts the experience of the wheelchair-bound Syrian who travelled 3,500 miles from her destroyed hometown of Kobani in Syria to Germany. The story details how the Nujeen and her sister overcame smugglers, dangerously leaky dinghies, and razor wire to reach freedom.
Read this fascinating interview with Christina Lamb on Nujeen on National Geographic.
Christina Lamb is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; was presented the Sue Lloyd-Roberts/UNHCR Award for her writing on refugees; in 2016 she won the Foreign Press Association Award for Feature of the Year for reporting on the Chibok girls in Nigeria and in 2015 Amnesty International’s Newspaper Journalist of the Year for reporting from inside Libyan detention centres.
Her books include:
- The Africa House (1999).
- Waiting For Allah: Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy (1991).
- The Sewing Circles of Herat, A Memoir of Afghanistan (2002).
- House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-torn Zimbabwe (2006).
- Small Wars Permitting: Dispatches from Foreign Lands (2008).
- I Am Malala (2013).
- Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan To A More Dangerous World (2015).
- Nujeen: One Girl’s Incredible Journey From War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair (2017).
Follow Christina Lamb on her website at: http://christinalamb.net/index.html