Sri Lanka Galle literary festival; journeys back in time

Feb 05, 2009 (LBO) – A blond woman in China with an unusual history; airline passengers armed to the teeth, crowded into a rickety Russian plane in Afghanistan, are an unlikely combination to encounter on a single journey. Award winning British travel-writer and novelist Colin Thubron, – one of whose latest works is Shadow of the Silk Road – came across them all while on a modern-day trek along that ancient trade route.

Thubron was describing his experiences to a packed audience of literary aficionados at the Galle Literary Festival in southern Sri Lanka.

The festival is centered on an old Dutch fort in Galle city, which is now a world heritage site. From January 28 to February 01, thousands of local and foreign visitors flocked to the city, which is a popular tourist resort.

“The very surroundings of the historic fort embrace you and make you feel alive and creative,” are the words of Geoffery Dobbs, a hotelier who founded the festival, now in its third year.

According to Dobbs, the festival is to celebrate the English language.

Writers who attended this year’s festival ranged from Europe to Africa to Asia; from Germaine Greer to Moses Isegawa to Tahmima Amman.

From ancient times, S