Mount Lavinia Hotel celebrates literary heritage with ‘Words on the Mount’


Few hotels in Sri Lanka are able to capture their architectural legacy and rich historical heritage as Mount Lavinia Hotel. Celebrating a momentous 210 years, the Hotel recently announced its first bespoke event titled ‘Words on the Mount’ to be held in July 2016.

The iconic hotel has gained fame and international repute for continuously presenting an impressive array of events.

The Hotel prepares to celebrate a significant milestone  hosting a prestigious authors’ event resonates in showcasing its colonial heritage and distinct trendsetting identity.

10.Aerial-View-2The event is set to promote Sri Lanka as an incomparable destination and Mount Lavinia Hotel as the nation’s most loved mansion, celebrating her extraordinary colonial past entwined with modern literature.

This unique and innovative two day extravaganza will begin on July 8th and continue on 9th July introducing writers who have a ‘special connection’ to Sri Lanka.

“We are delighted to be hosting some notable names from the literary world, who love Sri Lanka. This groundbreaking event bringing writers to Mount Lavinia enhances our proud literary history as we create a space for local writers and the public to explore culture through a celebration of literature, history and the arts,” said Bazeer Cassim, Group General Manager, Mount Lavinia Hotel.

The event will be curated by Shevanthie Goonesekera, author of ‘Mount Lavinia, The Governor’s Palace’. Elaborating on the objective of celebrating the written word at Mount Lavinia Hotel, Shevanthie noted, “We want something new, to be challenged, to be innovative. To promote another generation of writers in the country and inspire the creativity of Sri Lankans to do new things.”

img_4818Attending the event is Louis de Bernières, the well-known international writer and winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Novel in 1994, ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ who will introduce his new novel, ‘The Dust That Falls From Dreams’. Part of a trilogy, set during the First World War; Louis’ first book ends in Sri Lanka. Louis has a very special connection to the island which he will reveal during his visit to Mount Lavinia.

Thriller writer, Peter Grimsdale, a multi-award-winning television producer with a raft of major documentaries to his credit will introduce his novel, ‘Perfect Night’, also set in Sri Lanka and will explain how the book was inspired through his visit to the island.

Stephanie Calman, a writer and broadcaster and author of six books including ‘Confessions of a Bad Mother’, ‘Confessions of a Failed Grown-Up’, ‘How Not to Murder Your Husband’, ‘Dressing for Breakfast’ and ‘Gentlemen Prefer My Sister’, will also participate.

Rohan Candappa, who grew up in London as a second generation immigrant with a Ceylonese father and Burmese mother, is an author of 16 books. He is one of the UK’s most successful humour writers and is the author of the acclaimed ‘Picklehead’ which tells the story of him growing up in South London and includes a brief history of curry in Britain (and features his father’s recipe for Rasam too)’, which is part-travel history and part of an exotic anthology on food. Rohan’s most recent book is called ‘Rules Britannia, the 101 essential questions on Britishness answered’.

Reflecting the eclectic tastes View-from-Mt-Lavinia-Hotel-terraceof the authors Shevanthie said, “We are trying to do something really different, the writers have a connection with the island in some way; Louis has set his novel in Ceylon, Peter Grimsdale was on the island in 1984 and based his novel on his diary, Stephanie whose favourite book is ‘Running in the Family’ by Michael Ondaatje, will be producing a specially written piece for Mount Lavinia and Rohan will do a unique performance piece for the grand finale celebrating what is it to be ‘quintessentially British’.”

The two-day event will celebrate the Hotel’s ‘wonderful colonial building’ and promises to be visually and theatrically invigorating inspiring a literary discovery that ‘will be great fun’.

“As an important stakeholder in tourism, the Hotel believes the event will be a catalyst to attract a diverse group of visitors in addition to showcasing our strong links with international writers,” noted Lakmini Raymond, Group Director Business Development and Corporate Communications, Mount Lavinia Hotel.

A special part of the 210 celebrations will be the launching of the Second Edition of the book ‘Mount Lavinia, the Governor’s Palace’.

Inspired by Mount Lavinia’s heritage the organizers have put together a programme that is a celebration for book-lovers of all ages and tastes. Shevanthie notes, “We want to create the unexpected and I think everyone is hungry for something new and we want it to be a visual spectacle in a theatrical way so people can use all their senses’.