On October 7, A & K (Annasi and Kadalagotu) Lit. Festival comes to life at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, starting at 10 a.m. to last till sundown.
It is a well-structured trilingual programme that will give an expanse of local literature to the participant under the adage “Simply literature simply local”.
Yes, the charge is only Rs. 100 so that it is affordable to anyone who is interested in listening to literary discussions in the language of his/her preference.
As for the programme it is difficult to pick and highlight events as they are all equally palatable to those who visit the festival.
There are veteran authors and poets sharing the stage with newcomers to the scene; each of them willing to discuss the ups and downs and the cheers and tears of the writing world.
The event is a must for those who wish to get into the annals of authorship in the form of short story, novel or poetry in the Sinhala, Tamil and English literacy that Sri Lanka is endowed with.
Just to give a sneak peek of what I know least about, there is a session facilitated by Nalaka Gunawardena, science writer, who will have three eminently qualified panelists discussing the modernised world of cyber communication.
This sure is the ‘in’ thing where conventional writing takes a new direction where bloggers, satirists and e-book promoters thrive. I do not know enough to talk more on this subject as I belong to the old school, but I will surely be sitting in the audience to find out what this new media world of writing is all about.
Let me now move on to something that I am more familiar with. The magnificent Mahinda Masimbula will do a solo session about his award-winning book “Senkottan”.
It is perhaps the best book I have read in the last 10 years. In my humble opinion, the man from Yakkala is sure in the class of Chinua Achebe, Khalid Hosseini and Rohinton Mistry.
He is that good, and to see him on stage talking about what he wrote and why, is something I would not miss for anything. That will be local literature at its best.
There are Gratiaen Winners spaced in different discussions; there are new authors who have come to the scene with excellent books that are doing the rounds giving them the place they deserve in Sri Lankan literature. All these twined together will make a wonderful tapestry of multi-coloured literature in multi-lingual formats.
The Mount Lavinia Hotel itself will add a fantastic ambience to the entire event with its colonial heritage. Its doors will be open and the red carpet will be rolled out for all and sundry. I do not know how accurate I am in this statement, but I did hear it mentioned that Publis Silva, the Grandmaster Chef, will create a special fare of Annasi and Kadala to compliment the theme of this festival.
At sundown, there will be an open-mike session of poetry, supposedly a favourite of the young adult who may wish to enjoy the closing of the curtain with a glass of ice cool beer in hand.
The festival is tri-lingually remarkable, the Mount Lavinia Hotel setting is majestic and the programme is “simply literature, simply local”.
That is A & K for you. One just can’t go wrong spending hundred rupees for this full day’s entertainment.
-Capt. Elmo Jayawardena