Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Sunila Galapatti ─ A Long Watch: War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka

Thursday, October 20, 2016

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Birkelund Board Room

Sunila Galappatti has worked with other people to tell their stories, as a dramaturg, theatre director and editor. She started her working life at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle and is a former Director of the Galle Literary Festival. She has recently been a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at Brown University; reflecting on processes carried out in different parts of the world to curate public histories. She lives in Sri Lanka.

A Long Watch offers a story of human complexity amid entrenched narratives of Sri Lanka’s long civil war.

Pulled from a dark ocean after a battle at sea, Commodore Boyagoda became the highest-ranking prisoner detained by the Tamil Tigers. For eight years, he lived at close quarters with his declared enemy, his imprisonment punctuated by high-level talks about his fate, but also by extended conversations with his jailers and scratch games of badminton played in jungle clearings. Throughout, he observed his captors and fellow prisoners acutely, and with discreet empathy for the lives of others undone by war.

A memoir retold in Ajith Boyagoda’s temperate voice, his is an unblinking relation of experiences difficult, moving and ironic. From going to sea, to war, imprisonment and eventual homecoming, he accepted successive realities as ordinary, in order to survive them.

More Information

Center for Contemporary South Asia