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Annasi, that tropical fruit with its irresistible sweet tangy flavour and the simply down to earth kadala gotu that satisfy our craving for a ‘taste that bites’ with a dash of dried fried chilli, are firm favourite Sri Lankan delights that have never lost their space in our hands and hearts.

Soon we will experience a taste of Annasi and Kadala Gotu (A & K) on May 14 and 15 when cartloads of poetic and literary talent flood the Aesthetic Center in Colombo 7, typically brined in authentic Sri Lankan flavour.

Rooted firmly as a trilingual literary festival, and basking on the grand success of its premiere last year, the organisers are looking at a diversified and spiced-up two-day version to colour Colombo for 2016.

This Festival promises all the fun of the fair with more depth at heart what with book shops and food stalls, portrait painters and palm readers, poets and authors in panel discussions, all bringing home a pot pourri of Sri Lankanism in a gotuwa! This kaleidoscopic Fest of English, Sinhala and Tamil literature is bound to have many book launches drawing in literary lovers in their numbers.

Parents are encouraged to bring in their talented children to offer them many opportunities to bloom. School children will be given centre stage with an English Poetry Competition and Poem of the Year. This article is mainly to awaken the young poets by sending out to them a clarion call to showcase their talent. Here’s how it goes:

The aspiring ‘Poet of the Year’ will write a poem on any one of the three given topics below (no word limitation) and send it to the organisers of the A&K Literary Festival by email or surface mail.  1. Peace, 2. Being a Sri Lankan, 3. Kindness.

Ten poems from all entries received will be short-listed and announced on May 14 at the festival. The 10 writers will then be invited on stage to read their poetry. Later in the day, the three winners will be announced. They will receive attractive cash prizes as well as A&K LitFest Awards for the best three poems.
The topics have been carefully selected to encourage the young to express their thoughts and views on matters that are very relevant in the current day and age. This is a chance for the young to be heard.

Peace – that is what we longed for and the writers themselves were born at a time of conflict in the country that now enjoys the blessings of peace.

Being a Sri Lankan, is the removal of divisional labels in young minds. We are ethnically Sinhalese, Tamil, Burgher, Moors and Malays. But the core reality is that we are all Sri Lankans.
Kindness – What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

If you are a student who writes poetry, enter the ‘Poem of the Year’ contest. We seek the assistance of School Principals and English Literature teachers to encourage their students to participate.

Send in your entries to Nadeera Wijegunawardena at nadee1989@gmail.com.

“The Annasi and Kadalagotu Literary Festival has many other attractions too. All aimed at encouraging the newcomer to take to the literary stage. Authors who are seeking to launch a book can enter the ‘Launch Your Book @ The Annasi and Kadalagotu Festival’ programme,” said Capt Elmo Jayawardena.

Contact any one of the following members for information on the Festival and its programme: Keith Wijesuriya – Tel. 0777349880, email festival@aklitfest.com; Dhananath Fernando – Tel. 0775080256, email: dhana.fdo@gmail.com; Nadeera Wijegunawardena (for information on the Poetry Competition) – Tel. 0717903708; email: nadee1989@gmail.com; Chamindra Warusawitharana (for information on book launch registration) – Tel. 0777239011; email: casper.chamindra@gmail.com; A&K Lit Fest Hotline (0)11 2821111 (weekdays 9 am to 6 pm) or visit www.aklitfest.com.

Have your piece of cool juicy Annasi and a hot kadala gotta to share camaraderie with your fellow beings to literally mix and match a taste for the literary endeavour.