Kelaniya English Literary Festival 2017 (KELF 2017)

Kelaniya English Literary Festival 2017 (KELF 2017), which was held on 4th December 2017 was a celebration of the life of Professor Manique Gunesekera, the Chair Professor of English at the University of Kelaniya who passed away two years ago on this day. KELF 2017 was organised by the Department of English, University of Kelaniya and it was held at Professor Kotahene Sri Pragnakeerthi Nayake Thero Memorial Hall (K14) and its environs.
In the morning session, members of Professor Manique’s family joined the Department staff to launch ‘BLINK’, the journal of creative writing of the students of the Department of English. First published in 1982, it is one of the longest running literary journals in English in Sri Lanka. This year for the first time, BLINK was published online. It was also, for the first time, included submissions from the students of University of Jaffna, the final outcome of a collaborative academic and performance project of the two universities that took place in 2016. The launch was included readings and performances of poetry and short stories published in the current volume.
KELF 2017 was also featured two contemporary Sri Lankan writers Mr. Sunila Galappatti and Mr. Ashok Ferrey in the morning session. Mr. Sunila Galappatti and Mr. Ashok Ferrey read from and talk about their recent books: ‘A Long Watch : War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka’ and ‘The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons’, providing participants with a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with those two outstanding writers.
In the afternoon, three short films selected by award-winning filmmaker Mr. Anoma Rajakaruna was screened, followed by a discussion also conducted by Ms. Anoma Rajakaruna.
Parallel to these main events, and through the lunch break, there were small group activities such as literature circles conducted by the American Centre, “kuppi classes” for students of A/L literature, a scrabble corner and a photography workshop. There was a bookstall by Expographics, as well as food and drinks for sale at the location.
Prof. D.M. Semasinghe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, Prof. Lakshman Seneviratne, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Patrick Ratnayake, Dean, Faculty of Humanities, Senior Lecturer (Ms.) Dinali Fernando, Head of the Department of English, other Heads of the academic Departments of the faculty of Humanities, staff and students of the Department of English, several academic staff members and undergraduates of the University of Jaffna, schoolteachers, schoolchildren and many literary enthusiasts were a part of this exciting event.