Visually Handicapped to Enlighten the “Anduru Lovin Eliyata” Lit-Fest at Mount Lavinia

Elmo Jayawardena

A & K Literary Festival opens its doors for a full day’s entertainment on 20 October 2019 at 0900.  Renowned writer and teacher, Dileepa Abeysekera will be the opening bat doing a workshop on creative writing. The venue, as usual, is the historic Mount Lavinia Hotel, regal and elegant, a hard to beat location for a lit festival. The management of MLH very generously supports A & K by giving the use of the hotel FREE as their sponsorship contribution for the event. That is how the organisers squeeze the limes and lemons to make it affordable to literature lovers who need to pay only 100 rupees to access all the entertainment of the one-day festival.  Anduru Lovin Eliyata’

Set your alarm, rise with the sun on 20 October, come to Mount Lavinia Hotel and buy a ticket for 100 rupees and enjoy the tri-lingual literary feast that awaits you.

Too many events are in the menu for me to elaborate in detail. But, let me highlight one important segment in order to bring it to your attention. ‘Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest’ is straight from Thomas Grey’s Elegy. ‘Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,’ that too is relevant. A & K will have four visually impaired writers, two from each gender, coming to take part in ‘Anduru Lovin Eliyata’ and talk about how they became writers and how they wrote their manuscripts and pleaded and prayed for publication. This event starts at 1300, and it is going to be literature from a different side of the coin. These veterans wrote in darkness, mostly in braille and had no fancy laptops to do spell and grammar checks and copy and paste. They wrote for the love of writing. If not for anything else come and see ‘Anduru Lovin Eliyata’ and cheer these four musketeers for their sheer perseverance and courage. Our local Miltons and Helen Kellers have set the bar very high for any budding author. Listen to them, learn from them and walk away with your own determination to become a new-born author.

Gamini comes from Meerigama, Padmini from Ambalangoda, Upul from Arawwawala and Susila from Kaduwela. The moderator will be the newly crowned State Literary Award winner Virajini Thennakoon of Makaranandaya fame.

I asked the writer from Ambalangoda how she hopes to travel to the festival? “By bus Captain.”  There she was, getting up early to reach Mount Lavinia on time and braving a long bus ride with her impaired eyesight.  That just did not seem right. I needed someone to take care of the transport. The Boss of Vision Care readily agreed that his company will sponsor the travel costs of all four participants. That is kindness in its purest form.

“Do you know the Mount Lavinia Hotel?” I asked another of the four.

“I have never seen it nor have I been there, but I know it well.”

I like a fool asked how? “Sir, sometimes we got a patty or a cutlet with our ‘Kiri-Bath’ piece breakfast when we were at the Ratmalana School for the Blind. We knew that was a gift from the Mount Lavinia Hotel.” The voice was soft, but it said it all.

Now you know why it is so important for these Miltons and Helen Kellers to be on the stage at MLH for A and K. 

This is just one story from Annasi and Kadalagotu. Many more await in different locations within the hotel for you to walk about and breathe literature on 20 October. New authors get their baptism on stage to tell the audience how they navigated the pitfall filled path to get their precious books published.

The veterans, mostly award winners, will share their thoughts on our Sri Lankan tri-lingual literature and where it is heading. There will be workshops conducted (by  people who know what they are talking about) for children as well as adults, all related to literature. Poets and ‘wanna be’ word-minters  would converse over a coffee listening to modernized folk music played by the black-clad Bambaras. Painters will paint and book sellers will vend, both new and used novels to suit the taste and purse of all comers. Nuwan from Vijitha Yapa’s will be there and so would Deen the Book man, the ultimate expert.



20th October 2019 |   Mt Lavinia Hotel

TIME Hall 1 – Empire room Hall 2 – Horizon Room Hall 3 – Maitland Room
0900 – 1030 hrs Book Launches x 2

1. Book Launch and discussion with kids affected by war


2.Nadishka Aloysius

‘Craving Creativity’
Workshop for Adults
(Age: above 18)Resource Person:
Dileepa Abeysekera




Should Literature be censored? 

A public opinion debate

Featured by Shakthika Sathkumara


Moderated by Dhananath Fernando

1035 – 1045 hrs Opening Ceremony


1045 – 1200 hrs


Tri lingual literature –  a path to peace

Kingsley Rathnayake

Prof.Neluka Silva

Prof.Arjuna Parakrama

Santhan Ayathurai


Moderator Prof.Harshana Rambukwella


‘Blood, sweat and ink’

The mingling of Sports & Literature

Andrew Fidel Fernando

Yasas Ratnayake

David Scott

Rohan Wijesinghe

Ganeesha David


Moderated by Rohan Wijesinha

1200 – 1245 hrs


The child who never grows up (TBC)


Sybil Wettasinghe

In conversation with Nalaka Gunawardena

1300 – 1400 hrs


Performance by Bambaru ‘Anduru Lowakin Eliyata’
Writing with disabilities
Upul SenadheerageWasantha Pathmini

Susila Nandani

Gamini Karunarathne

Moderated by Virjani Tennakoon



Little minds strong values

Teaching ethics and values for kids between 8 years to 14 years


Conducted by

Rukshan Perera


1415 – 1515 hrs Literature as a tool of ethnic and religious reconciliation


Victor Ivan

Rukshan Perera

Mahinda Namal

Dr. Sarath Wimalasuriya


Moderated by Udan Fernando (TBC)



‘New faces in literature’


Ahilini Nanthakumar

Asha Ralpanawa

Chathuski Jayasinghe

Kanchana Priyakantha

Sandya Salgado


Moderated by Tinaz Amit


Learning through literature
Workshop for kids
 Resource person:
Nadishka Aloysius
1530 – 1645 Award winning writing skills  


Saumya Sandaruwan

Virajini Thennakoon

Shirani Rajapakse

S.A Udayan

Prof. Piyasseli Wijemanne


Moderator: Malinda Seneviratne


‘A woman’s gaze’
An all-women panel of writers – who are active in both traditional paper-based writing and/or digital media – will discuss the challenges they face in cultural self-expression and reader engagement. Come listen to them talk about the perspectives that set them apart, how they craft compelling characters and what their journey to publication has taught themPrashani Rambukwella

Vetrichelvi (Velu) Chandrakala

Dr. Bodhini Samaratunga



Moderated by Smrithi Daniel

‘Hitiwana Kavi’

Poetry Corner


Migara Bamunusinghe

Kapila Wickremeratne

Sudath Liyanage

Chamari Malkanthi



Moderated by Shenali Perera



1700 – 1730 hrs




1730 – 1800 hrs



























1840 – 1900

Performance by Bambaru




‘Lankawe Hina’
Humour a la Sri Lankan


Asanka Sahabandhu (TBC)


Janai Priyayi [Ranga Jayakodi Chamal Ratnayake]


DJ Ara and Pasbara [Aravinda & Disna Munasinghe]


Samare and Samare [Shastha Samarasinghe & Hasitha]


Moderated by Tharusha Kumarasinghe (TBC)



Continuation – Lankawe Hinaa



Continuation Performance by Bambaru


Prize giving featuring the “Love letter competition”


The Story behind
the Story
Jian YangModerated by Keith Wijesuriya


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