Galle Literary Festival: The Ultimate Sri Lankan's Getaway For Bibliophiles

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The Fairway Galle Literary Festival is also known as the Galle Literary Festival was started in the year 2007, and since then it has attracted many scholars and writers worldwide. It is one of the most anticipated events in South East Asia for authors as well as literary enthusiasts. In recent years, the profile and status of the festival have increased, which has drawn many acclaimed authors to the festival. The festival is held annually at the Galle Fort which is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The festival received a setback in the year 2011 when many journalists boycotted the event due to the alleged involvement of the Sri Lankan government in the attack on journalists and the press. The festival was also not held in the year 2013 due to the ill health of the founder of the festival Geoffrey Dobbs.

The Galle Literary Festival invites many famous personalities and journalists from all over the world. Some of these people includes- D.J. Taylor and Roshi Fernando, Sashi Tharoor, Shyam Selvadura. The previous editions of the event also had famous authors and writers like- Tom Stoppard, Michael Morpurgo, Madhur Jaffrey, Julian Barnes Richard Dawkins, Simon Sebag Montefiore, David Thompson, and Jason Kouchak. Thus, the festival brings together different readers and books without creating a noisy atmosphere and uncovers the connection between different ideas and communities.

Today the Galle Literary Festival is one of the renowned and leading festivals of Asia. The scope of the festival has also increased to include different activities like art trails, cookery, cabaret, and music. The festival comes to life with the various events and activities along with the enthusiastic participation of the audience.

What to expect at the Galle Literary Festival?

1) Broaden your Horizon with a Fictional and Non-Fictional Perspective

The Galle Festival not just lets you immerse yourself in the land of fantasy and fiction, but if you are someone who is looking for an authentic non-fiction perspective, the Galle Literary Festival is the place to be. Here there are many well renowned who have shared their views like Richard Dawkins, Anthony Beevoir, Christina Lamb, Pico Iyer, Sir Mark Tully. Lesley Hazleton, Simon Winchester, and Shashi Taroor.

2) Guided Walks in the Festival

There are guided heritage walks as well as specialist walks to guide you through the wonders of the literary world. These walks are always one of the first events to sell out. You will be taken on a journey of the Fort walk which has been built by the famous architect, Channa Daswatte and the esteemed Mrs. Cader, whose family have lived in the Fort for over 100 years.

3) Explore the Local Sri Lankan Talent

The festival not only hosts many international artists and regional artists and journalists, along with local artists like Shyam Selvalduarai, Romesh Gunasekara, Nuri Vitachi, Ashok Ferrey, and Channa Daswatte.

4) Gain Cultural Perspective
One can enjoy a wide array of activities like poetry, plays, cultural shows, cabarets, and fine dining. There are also many workshops and events hosted by experts where you will find yourself lost in luxury as you experience wine and gin tasting, along with some fantastic theatre performances all the while enjoying your delicious gourmet meal which is specially prepared by international chefs like Rick Stein, David Thomson, Skye Gygnell, Peter Kuravita, and Madhur Jaffrey.

5) Brain Exercise for the Little Ones

The festival is not just for adults who are seeking some intellectual discussions and conversations, but also for the upcoming generation, where the local children participate in mind-boggling debates, which are being chaired by experts. So get ready for the next big thing!

Where Does The Galle Literary Festival Take Place?

The Galle Literary Festival is usually held annually in January. You will find the program schedule with all the details of the different events taking place on each day at the official website, that is- The event usually begins from 9:00 am and goes on throughout the day.

There are many different things to explore throughout the program, which include exhibitions, workshops, dinners, films and much more going on throughout the festival aside from the talks. So make sure that you make the most of your experience and don’t miss out on anything.

The tickets are available usually a month before the event that is mostly in December at the website. However, make sure to check out for the events that are covered in the cost of the ticket and which are the events for which you need to incur an additional charge.

Tickets and Passes

The ticket system is cashless, which requires you to book in advance on the website. Passes which are purchased online can be later collected from the box office at Galle Fort anytime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on the day of the event. Remember to carry the confirmation of your booking while collecting the ticket and also remember that there is no exchange or refund of tickets once purchased.

If you need help with the procedure for booking online, you can also contact the helpline number.

The helpline number: (076) 533 8664

The average cost of the ticket/pass for the year 2019. (Please note that these rates may vary each year).
  • In Conversation – LKR 1,500
  • Duet – LKR 1,500
  • Solo Act – LKR 1,500
  • Fairway Galle Literary Panel – LKR 1,500
  • Day Pass: 17th Thursday, 18th Friday, 19th Saturday – LKR 6,000
  • Festival Pass – LKR 15,000
Along with this, there are also some workshops that take place at Galle Literary Festival, and you will have to check in advance if there is any prior charge for the same. Some events are also free of cost. 

We advise you to visit the website  to check out the rates of the different events as well as to find out the ones which are free of cost.

So go ahead and enjoy one of the most unique and memorable literary experiences with writing, reading, archaeological, ecological, philosophical, cultural, musical, artistic, and culinary activities all in a beautiful and unique setting.

This post was published by Priyanka Chugh

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