Annasi & Kadalagotu

By Dimithri Wijesinghe

This year, kicking things off at the festival is special guest Dileepa Abeysekera, renowned writer and teacher, with a workshop on creative writing.

AK Lit Fest 2019 will be held on 20 October at 9 a.m. at Mount Lavinia Hotel. The entrance ticket to the festival as usual will be priced at Rs. 100 and the event welcomes any and all who have a passion for literature, be it in Sinhala, English, or Tamil.

Speaking to Captain Elmo Jayawardena about what’s in store for festival-goers this year, he said there’s simply too much to elaborate on but there’s one section that is absolutely special – A&K will be featuring four visually impaired writers taking part in a special session titled “Anduru Lovin Eliyata”.

The four artists, two lovely ladies, Padmini and Susila, and two gents, Gamini and Upul, will share with the audience how they were led on a journey towards becoming writers and after having written their manuscripts, the difficulties in getting them published.

The event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday and promises to provide an interesting outlook that authors and lovers of literature may have different experiences to you and I.

Captain Elmo shared how these writers attended to their craft in darkness, primarily writing in brail without access to impressive writing utensils. “They had no fancy laptops to do spelling and grammar checks and copy and paste. They wrote for the love of writing,” he said.

Encouraging all literature enthusiasts to make their way over to A&K this coming Sunday, Captain Elmo insisted that if not for anything else, he requested they simply come and cheer on these four brave and talented souls who have overcome life’s obstacles to pursue what they love. “Our local Miltons and Helen Kellers have set the bar very high for any budding author,” he said, adding that it’s quite likely that if you listen to their story, you may walk away with a newfound determination to become a “newborn author”.

While these star attractions are more than enough reason to drop by A&K, the festival will also be hosting a love letter writing competition. Celebrating their five-year anniversary in collaboration with Mount Lavinia Hotel, it is rather apt that they are conducting this competition considering how the hotel itself is famous for its love story between Governor Maitland and the gypsy dancer Lovina.

The participants need to pen approximately 50 words, pouring their hearts out in the language of their choice. As there is no age limit to entering the competition, it’s sure to be an interesting one. Winners will be announced on the day of the festival. All the relevant information can be found on the A&K Facebook page.

A&K 2019 promises to be one not to be missed; a place for local artists to truly find their footing amongst the wise words of the greats who were once where we are now.

Take a chance and make your way over to Mount Lavinia Hotel on a Sunday sure to be unforgettable.