The Festival Day Pass for Friday, January 26th 2018 gives you access to 11 literary events taking place throughout the day.

FGLF 2018 Day Pass Events for Friday Jan 26 2018

Day Pass: Rs. 5,000

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Day Pass Events
Friday, January 26 2018

9:00 am – 10:00 am

FGLF 2018 Event - The Reverend Dr. Malcolm Guite - A Strange Awakening - The Ancient Mariner as Prophetic Vision.

The Reverend Dr. Malcolm Guite: A Strange Awakening: The Ancient Mariner as Prophetic Vision

“A sadder and a wiser man/He rose the morrow morn”.

In this fascinating foray through Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous cautionary tale, the Reverend Dr. Malcolm Guite – poet, scholar and priest – will ask the question of what we might learn in 2018 – two hundred years after Coleridge first published the poem under his own name – from this rollicking tale of man’s selfish and unthinking exploitation of his natural surroundings.

Must wisdom bring sadness? And what may we learn about the acts of writing and storytelling, from the nature of the Mariner’s act of penance?


10:00 am – 11:00 am

FGLF 2018 Event Day3 - For King and Another Country

Shrabani Basu & Sebastian Faulks: For King and Another Country

Books such as Sebastian Faulks’ famous trilogy The Girl at the Lion D’Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray have very considerably helped to ensure that the sacrifices of soldiers in the two world wars have not gone unremembered.

However, as historian Shrabani Basu points out in her 2015 publication For King and Another Country; Indian Soldiers on the Western Front 2014-2018, fictional and historical representations of these conflicts have rarely drawn attention to the contribution and sacrifices of the more than one million Indian soldiers who fought in World War I – the largest force from the colonies and dominions. For King and Another Country describes the Great War through the eyes of these soldiers – many illiterate young men from remote villages who distinguished themselves with acts of great bravery. In the process she leads us to see how the War changed India and set in motion a process that would lead, ultimately, to Independence.

(Shrabani Basu’s participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Jetwing Hotels.)

(Sebastian Faulks’ participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Sri Lanka Telecom.)


10:00 am – 11:00 am

FGLF 2018 Event Day3 - Sufism with Bruce Wannell.

Bruce Wannell: Sufism, Mysticism and Persian Poetry.

Bruce Wannell’s Sufism: Mystical Writings of Islam is a work close to the writer’s heart. Known as a travel writer who produced an Odyssey Guide to travel in Iran, Bruce’s reasons for travelling and living so extensively in the Middle East are perhaps less well documented. In this solo session he will share with us his passion for Persian poetry and what he has learned from it about the country in which he has travelled so extensively.

Bruce Wannell’s participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotions Bureau.


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

FGLF 2018 Event - Maylis de Kerangal & Ashok Ferrey - Bury the Dead and Mend the Living.

Maylis de Kerangal & Ashok Ferrey: Bury the Dead and Mend the Living

In this session, two writers whose work profoundly addresses the complications of being alive – a condition we can only mend, not ultimately repair – share their experiences writing of life, labour and the heart.

For both writers, language is paramount; Maylis writes in French and Ashok in English, but the work of each has been translated into the other’s language. To what extent, the session will ask, is it possible to render experiences originally shared in the language of one’s heart, in that of another? The title of Maylis’ novel comes from Chekhov’s Platanov: “Bury the dead and mend the living” so that it originates in the Russian, thus adding another complication to this linguistic conundrum. Ultimately, both readers eschew the potential limitations of translation with an economy of prose that goes straight to the heart of what it means to be a human being.

(Maylis de Kerangal’s presence at the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Alliance Française de Kotte. Her travel is sponsored by Jet Airways.)


2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

FGLF 2018 Event - Shrabani Basu - The Story of Victoria and Abdul

Shrabani Basu: The Story of Victoria and Abdul

In this solo presentation, Shrabani Basu, historian, journalist and author, will share with us the journey that led to the writing of her non-fiction work, Victoria and Abdul; The True Story of The Queen’s Closest Confidant.

The story has now been rendered a major motion picture with Dame Judi Dench in the eponymous role. Yet for over a hundred years it remained unknown, much of the evidence of the close relationship between the Queen and her munshi (teacher) as she styled Abdul, having been destroyed on her death by her son and heir King Edward.


Using the evidence of art displayed at Osborne House, in Queen Victoria’s long unopened Hindustani Journals and in letters sent by Queen Victoria to Abdul when he was on leave of absence in India, Shrabani has pieced together an extraordinary and meticulously documented account of this fascinating friendship.

(Shrabani Basu’s participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Jetwing Hotels.)


2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

FGLF 2018 Event Day3 - Lost Without Translation

Bruce Wannell, Michael Kumpfmüller and Nalin Ranasinghe: Lost Without Translation.

This panel features three writers who have contributed substantially to the work of sharing literatures of one linguistic tradition with those from others.

Bruce Wannell has translated extensively from Parsi – his work has by extension been an important part of the work of William Dalrymple, for whom he has been a long-time translator.

Michael Kumpfmüller’s novel The Glory of Life has been translated into 25 languages and thus enjoyed worldwide exposure, so that a wide audience might share this beautiful narrative.

Nalin Ranasinghe is an academic who shares the works of the classics with students by virtue of translation. What are the challenges of translation? What gets lost? What is gained?

(Michael Kumpfmüller’s travel to and presence at the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Goethe-Institut.)

(Bruce Wannell’s participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotions Bureau.)


3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

FGLF 2018 Event Day3 - Sallyanne Atkinson, Herman Gunaratne, Charles Allen, Anura Gunasekara -Plantation Raj.

Sallyanne Atkinson, Herman Gunaratne, Charles Allen & Anura Gunasekara: Plantation Raj

This panel brings together four speakers with a close connection to the plantation industry during the colonial era.

Charles Allen is a historian whose sensitive study of Rudyard Kipling, Kipling Sahib, presents both Kipling and, by extension, the Raj era itself, in a more favourable light than is often the case in historical studies of the period.

Herman Gunaratne is a planter whose time in the profession includes both the British colonial era and the present; he is also the writer of a number of books, one of which – Plantation Raj – gives the title to this session.

Sallyanne Atkinson grew up in Colombo and was a student of Bishop’s College while her father worked in Colombo at a firm involved in the tea industry in the early years of Sri Lanka’s Independence.

Together, these writers will discuss their experiences of Ceylon and Sri Lanka.


3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

FGLF 2018 Event Day3 - Kushanava Choudhury on The Epic City

Kushanava Choudhury: The Epic City – The world on the Streets of Calcutta

What is Calcutta? Macaulay thought it “a place of mists, alligators and wild boars”. Kipling saw it as a city of dreadful night and “one of the most wicked places in the universe”. Depending on which European prognosticator one reads it’s a black hole, a leprous pit, a basket case, a marxist junk space. Writing in 1903, Lord Curzon at least spurned such millenarian metaphors only to succumb to imperial self-adulation: “Calcutta is in reality a European city set down upon Asiatic soil, and it is a monument – in my opinion one of the most striking extant monuments, for it is the second city to London in the entire British Empire – to the energy and achievements of our race.” (Sukhdev Sandhu)

When Kushanava Choudhury returned to Calcutta after graduating from Princeton, he found himself in a world his immigrant parents had abandoned, in a city built between a river and a swamp, where the moisture-drenched air swarms with mosquitos after sundown. Once the capital of the British Raj, it was subsequently India’s industrial and cultural hub. But by 2001 Calcutta was clearly past its prime. Choudhury’s return mystified his relatives, who wondered why he hadn’t moved to Delhi, Bombay or Bangalore, where consumption was conspicuous and a life of material wealth seemed assured. The Epic City is in many ways the writer’s answer to that question: a soulful, compelling portrait of the fifteen million people who still live in Calcutta, the work is a beautifully written testimony to the everyday life in Calcutta – to the shouting hawkers who overrun the footpaths, the fish-sellers squatted on bazaar floors, the politics of barricades and bus burnings and the Communist ministers who travel in motorcades. Written with humanity, wit and insight, The Epic City is an unforgettable portrait of an era, and of a city which is a world unto itself.

“A wonderful, beautifully written and even more beautifully observed love letter to Calcutta’s greatness . . . The Epic City clearly marks the arrival of a new star”. William Dalrymple, Observer

(Kushanava Choudhury’s participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotions Bureau.)


4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

FGLF 2018 Event - Laaleen Sukhera & Gayathri Warnasuriya - Austenistan - Jane Austen 200 Years On.

Laaleen Sukhera & Gayathri Warnasuriya: Austenistan – Jane Austen, 200 Years On

Two hundred years after the death of Jane Austen, Laaleen Sukhera, Founder of the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan, edited a collection of short stories written by women who have lived in Pakistani society, after the style of the great detective and chronicler of human nature, Jane Austen. The title of the volume, Austenistan, means ‘the land of Austen’ and Laaleen sees modern Pakistan as just that – a world operating very much in the style of the Regency England in which Jane Austen lived and wrote.

Laaleen is joined on the panel by one of the contributors to Austenistan, Gayathri Warnasuriya, a Sri Lankan health scientist presently living and working in Amman.

The session will begin with a performance-reading by Adrian Lukis and Caroline Langrishe, as they bring to life a number of Jane Austen’s most memorable characters.

FGLF 2018 Event - Caroline Langrishe and Adrian Lukis - A Performane-Reading of Jane Austen

Performing duologues from Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, these veteran actors explore Miss Austen’s world, from the duplicity of Wickham to the heartfelt passion of Wentworth and Anne.

The performance will also include the delightful passage from former Festival Curator, Shyam Selvadurai’s novel Cinnamon Gardens that refers to Pride and Prejudice, by way of illustrating Sri Lanka’s own Austen legacy.


4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

FGLF 2018 Event - Hilali Noordeen - Innovations in Surgery.

Hilali Noordeen: Innovations in Surgery

The last living Sri Lankan former President of the Oxford Union will put his considerable eloquence and powers of oratory to work sharing with us his experience of innovations in orthopaedic surgery. A Renaissance man if ever there was one, Hilali brings to his subject a very considerable knowledge of men and matters that has informed a successful career as a highly sought after spinal surgeon.


5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

FGLF 2018 Event - Katharine Norbury & The Reverend Dr. Malcolm Guite - Landscape and Literature.

Katharine Norbury & The Reverend Dr. Malcolm Guite: Landscape and Literature

“Like Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk, and Richard Mabey’s Nature Cure before it, Katharine Norbury’s The Fish Ladder is at heart an examination of the consoling effect of the natural world on human grief and torment”. With these opening lines of her Guardian  review of Katharine Norbury’s beautiful memoir/travelogue The Fish Ladder, Rachel Cooke draws attention to one of the things Katharine Norbury does so beautifully for her reader by drawing attention, “her eye feasting on the landscape’ to the redemptive and instructional  qualities of the natural world.

The Reverend Malcolm Guite’s fascinating study of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s wonderful cautionary tale “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” draws heavily and fruitfully on the landscape of the West Country.  Coleridge lived in Nether Stowey and Watchet is most likely the setting of his famous narrative poem. Coleridge’s poem is clearly meant to change the way we view the world, and the natural world is central to that process.

(Katharine Norbury’s participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotions Bureau.)


6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

FGLF 2018 Event - Michael Roc Thomas - A Tour de Force of Magical Verse.

Michael Roc Thomas: A Tour de Force of Magical Verse

Michael Roc-Thomas will read from and speak about his new collection of tales told in verse. ‘Seeing Better Now’ comprises fifty-six tales told in verse. Each is beautifully illustrated in full colour by two of Sri Lanka’s finest artists. Many of the stories are humorous, others doleful or bittersweet; yet others ask powerful questions and will make the reader think. All have genuine charm and originality. Poetry? No, much more fun!

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View Programme: Main | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Sinhala Day