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“Stories from Sri Lanka”
by Georgia I. Hesse
Want to know how Alice felt, falling through the rabbit-hole and coming out in Wonderland? Take your first trip to Sri Lanka. Cleopatra’s jewels came from there. Isn’t that enough?
Maybe. But in their presentation to BATW on March 16, Laurie McAndish King and Jim Shubin came up with more enticements, reveling in their recent trip. They met elephants. They relished curry for breakfast. (So do I, crying happily into it.) They ogled painted ladies, the bosomy Beyoncés of ancient Sigiriya; they sipped the tea synonymous with Ceylon; they photographed, gracefully, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, where resides Lord Buddha’s upper left canine.
Laurie and Jim enjoyed themselves in Sri Lanka and I predict a lot of travelers will go parading and trekking in their tracks.
In their second presentation, the pair put on professorial hats, presenting a tutorial on contemporary publishing in today’s proliferation of possibilities: e-books, print books, essays, journals, anthologies, photo books. They left the intrigued audience with nothing less than a vision into today’s publishing vérités.
The stately Fairmont Hotel proved a superb setting for discussion of the many-splendored island known to tea-drinkers as Ceylon, an often corrupted name transliterated from the Sanskrit for Abode of Lions, although nobody knows whether there ever were lions on the island. From 1802 until 1948, Ceylon was a Crown Colony of the United Kingdom, the British having taken control from the Dutch East India Company in 1796.
One BATW member, Sharon McDonnell, took home a sliver of Sri Lanka itself: a smoky topaz given as door prize by Lakshman Ratnapala, who organized the event.