Location/Culture Reports

Culture Report – Sri Lanka

M. Darcy checks in with books and movies that are related to Sri Lanka.

Books written about Sri Lanka include A History of Sri Lanka by Dr. K. M. De Silva; A Village in the Jungle, Leonard Woolf; The Flower Boy, Karen Roberts; Anil’s Ghost, and Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatke; and Funny Boy, Shyam Selvadurai.

Sri Lanka has a rich history of literary connections. Robert Knox, who was held captive by a Kandyan king for 20 years in the 17th century, wrote a memoir called An Historical Relation of Ceylon (Sri Lanka was previously known as Ceylon), which was one of the sources used by Daniel Defoe for Robinsoe Crusoe. Pablo Neruda, the poet who won the 1971 Nobel Prize for literature, lived in Colombo (Sri Lanka’s largest city) in the 1930s and many of the poems in Residence on Earth were written there. Paul Bowles owned the island off Weligama for a short time and wrote much of The Spider's House there. Arthur C. Clarke has spent many years on the island, and wrote The Fountains of Paradise, a futuristic fable with a setting that bears an uncanny resemblance to Sri Lanka.

Movies that have been filmed in Sri Lanka include The Bridge on the River Kwai, Elephant Walk, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.