For fans of Martin Wickramasinghe

The article I did on the Martin Wickramasinghe collection housed at the National Library and Documentation Services Board (NLDSB) in Colombo.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/140105/plus/book-lovers-this-treasure-trove-is-a-must-for-you-78579.html

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Adieu Chinua Achebe………………

imagesThe first book by  Nigerian born writer  Chinua Achebe  I read was  “When Things Fall Apart,”  which tells the story of a Nigerian tribe at the turn of the 19th century  who are on the verge of having their lives changed forever with the entry of  white colonizers into the African heartland. The book is one that takes the reader right into an African village, into the midst of their traditions and customs, their everyday struggles which, though far far-fetched from ours, make us connect at once with the people.

Since then I’ve been a great admirer of the great African writer and has read another of his books called, “A man of the people.” Reading it, it almost felt like a Sri Lankan story.

So when I read yesterday that Chinua Achebe had passed away at the age of 82, it was a poignant feeling.

downloadGreat writers in Achebe will never really die because their writings live on forever and continue to inspire and entertain many more generations of writers.’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Lives of great men all remind us; we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time. Achebe   has done just that.

http://http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/mar/22/novelist-chinua-achebe-dies

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How Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children finally reached the big screen…….

Salman Rushdie’s book Midnight’s Children won him many literary awards including the Best of Booker, a one-off celebratory award to mark the 40th anniversary of the Booker Prize in 2010. But as he reveals in his memoir titled “Joseph Anton”, getting the book made into movie version was a long drawn out and frustrating struggle. Sri Lanka was picked as the location to shoot it , initially in the form of a  television series and later as a  movie, but with politics getting in the way, one project as shelved while the second one was concluded despite several hiccups on the way.midnight

Here is a link to the story I wrote for the Sunday Times on how Midnight’s Children finally reached the big screen.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/130317/plus/the-reel-story-of-midnights-children-seeing-the-light-of-day-36721.html

Author & Director promoting the film
Author & Director promoting the film

Re-reading Pride & Prejudice……….

I re-read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice recently as the book celebrated its 200th anniversary of publication and I put down my thoughts   in an article I wrote to the Sunday Times. It was an interesting experience to re-read a book after a lapse of over 25 years and discover that my views on certain aspects of life have changed quite a bit between then and now. I also discovered how much I like the book. So here’s the link to my article. Hope you will enjoy reading it.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/130217/plus/does-it-still-hold-pride-of-place-33141.html

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Original cover of P & P

A room of my own – I long for one…………

“All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point — a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” So said Virginia Woolf,   novelist, feminist, modernist ………, in all her wisdom and foresight.

And I tend to agree wholeheartedly with her on the part of a woman needing “a room of her own”. It is the one thing I want desperately and the one thing I don’t have.

Looking back I  realise I have never had a room of my own. Coming from a family with four other siblings, it’s always been a matter of sharing a room with one of them or sometimes with two of them. Adding to the “no room of my own saga,’ has been the fact that we’ve changed houses a record number of times,  at least eight different houses  before I got married and since then three houses. But in all, I haven’t had a room of my own. Most of my childhood years, I shared a room with one or two of my sisters and even as adults it was pretty much the same. Since marriage its meant sharing a room with the better half and sometimes with one or both the children.

Since striding into my 40s the urge for a room of my own has grown.  I am becoming less tolerant of all the disturbances that I have to put up by sharing a room. And living with three men (husband and two sons), who have no idea why women need privacy when men can pretty much do all what they want in full glare , I think I really need a “room of my own.”As to how I am going to get one is still not clear but I‘ll have to start working on it.

Virginia Woolf. You were so right. A room of our own, our own heaven, to do as we please, to keep all our feminine items strewn all over, to dream and  read in peace. What more would a woman want??

There is one thing. A  “bathroom of my own”.That would make things perfect.

Ian Fleming: Creator of a larger than life hero………

It often happens that a fictional character created by an author becomes so big that the identity of the writer gets obliterated in all the fuss about his or her  own creation.  It’s not a new phenomenon as such especially when it comes to the fate of writers who create larger than life characters such as James Bond.

Ian Fleming

Not much is spoken about the author of the 007 series Ian Fleming even though James Bond is an internationally recognised name.  This month movie lovers will celebrate 50 years since the first James Bond film “Dr.No” was released way back in 1962. Along with the hype surrounding the release of the latest Bond movie “Skyfall” is the release of the theme song of the movie by Adele which is bound to give a boost to the movie.

I have watched almost all the Bond movies and find them entertaining.  It nice to sit back and watch a movie which you know will end with James Bond winning the day, however ferocious and innovative his antagonists have gotten over the years. And, yes, he also always gets the girl. And this is no mean task given the kind of women he’s managed to woo over the years – from Ursula Andress to Halle Berry.

While several actors have played the role of James Bond in the movies, the character is the creation of one man, Ian Lancaster Fleming who was born in London on 28th May 1908.

Here are some facts about him that I found on his official website. http://www.ianfleming.com/index.asp

“After an early career at Reuter’s news agency, he became a stockbroker. During World War 2 he worked throughout as assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in the Admiralty in London, privy to many secrets. It was his experience in this job that was to provide many of the characters and incidents that he was to write about later in the Bond books.”

“Following the war he became foreign manager, in charge of foreign correspondents, for Kemsley newspapers, owners of the Sunday Times and other papers. But his creative imagination remained under wraps until 1952, when, at the age of 43, he settled down in his house in Jamaica, and produced – in not much more than two months – Casino Royale, the first adventure of James Bond. He published a further thirteen James Bond titles and lived to witness their enormous success, and having seen his character played by Sean Connery in the first two films,Dr No and From Russia with Love.”  

“He married Anne Rothermere in 1952 and in August that year his only son, Caspar, was born. While convalescing from his first heart attack in 1962, he wrote a short story about a flying car for Caspar – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Ian Fleming died aged 56, on 12th August 1964 at Sandwich in Kent.”
So that is in a nutshell the life of the man who created one of the most memorable and most enduring characters ever.

The first book in the 007 series

So while I eagerly await  the release of “Skyfall” , I ‘d  also like to state how grateful I am that Ian Fleming   in all his ingenuity  left behind a legendary character ,  whose exploits not only I , but my children now enjoy.