Authors flock to Sri Lanka as Galle literary festival opens

Galle, Sri Lanka Jan 17, 2008 (LBO) – Hundreds of international and local authors, dramatists, poets, historians and architects are flocking to a coastal town in southern Sri Lanka, as the ‘Galle International Literary Festival’ takes off. . The festival is being staged in and around a fort in Galle, a southwestern coastal town 116 kilometers from island’s capital Colombo.

The fort is now a UNESCO world heritage site, built by Dutch colonial rulers who ran the island’s coastal areas until the British started taking over in 1796.

About 40 international authors including Gore Vidal and Vikram Seth and Alexander McCall Smith are attending the event to join those with closer links to the island such as Punyakanthi Wijenaike, Shyam Selvadurai and Yasmin Gooneratne.

The participation at the festival has doubled since its inauguration last year, its founder Geoffrey Dobbs said.

He says the festival which brings together international and local writers to highlight the depth and the diversity of English writing in Sri Lanka and the world would also tempt visitors to the southern coastal belt of the island.

“It’s a wonderful destination and even in these troubled time