Superstar Maggie Smith to join courtroom supremo Sir Desmond de Silva at Galle Literary Festival


Sri Lanka’s world-renowned Fairway Galle Literary Festival will welcome luminaries of silver screen and international jurisprudence in January for the this eagerly anticipated star-studded event.

Local fans will be thrilled by the appearance of Dame Maggie Smith, the moody matriarch of hit British TV series Downton Abbey and doughty Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films.

Meanwhile, Sir Desmond de Silva, born and educated in Ceylon during World War II, and later one of the most high-profile jury advocates of his generation, will read from his recently published ‘Madam, Where Are Your Mangoes?’

The Sunday Times reports that much-loved ‘national treasure’ Dame Maggie “will be exploring the skills of comedy acting at the FGLF to be held from January 24-28”.

The 82-year-old star has won two Academy Awards, for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and California Suite (1978), and is also a four-time Bafta winner.

Fans will also recall her memorable performances as a homeless old woman in The Lady in the Van (2015) and as Muriel, the retired housekeeper in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and its sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015).

As a counterpoint, Sri Desmond’s memoir “provides an authoritative account of some of his most remarkable cases, covering over half a century of practice in the courts of England, the Commonwealth and as Chief Prosecutor of an international criminal court”.

He is also renowned for his considerable talent as a speaker: witty, urbane and accomplished, his solo performance ‘Desmond Uninterrupted’ promises to be one of the sought after events of the festival.

Also attending will be Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane, who will “afford the audience a nuanced appreciation of the human complexities of the judicial system, and of the challenge of balancing a concern for victims with society’s desire for closure”.

Read more here.

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