Raising the curtains on GALF: Jerry Pinto and Prabda Yoon at St Xavier

The IX Annual Edition of the Goa Arts and Literature Festival Curtain Raiser was organised in collaboration with the department of English of St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa on 5th December 2018. Two award-winning writers of international renown interacted with students and members of the public as part of the event.

In her opening comments, the compere for the day, Ms Alice D’Cruz noted that against a backdrop of grand Lit Fests happening around the country, GALF was a testament to the fact that ‘great things can also happen in small places’. She considered it an honour to welcome two of the world’s prestigious contemporary writers, Pinto and Yoon to the GALF 2018 Curtain Raiser hosted by the college.

Fr. (Dr.) Jeronimo D’Silva, Principal of St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, in his welcome address appreciated the gesture of taking the writer to the reader as part of the traditional GALF outreach programme. He expressed his appreciation to the writers for being role models for the students.

The Administrator of the college Fr. Zeferino D’Souza while sharing his thoughts stated that one should be a learner for life and GALF is an excellent opportunity for such a learning experience.

In her introduction of the iconic Thai writer and recipient of the prestigious S.E.A Write Award, Prabda Yoon; Dr Prema Rocha highlighted the eclectic range of his work as a short story writer, novelist, graphic designer, artist, essayist, lyricist, screenplay writer, filmmaker, translator as well as publisher. Yoon gave the audience a taste of his writing as he read excerpts from his collection of short stories.

The Windham Campbell award-winning novelist, poet, translator and journalist of Goan origin, Jerry Pinto, was introduced by Shirlene Fernandes as a deeply sensitive writer who shot to fame with his moving novel Em and the Big Hoom.

“Excellence is a choice you make from moment to moment”, stated Jerry Pinto in his inimitable engaging style. He held the audience captive with his hard-hitting advice to young people to read daily in order to achieve excellence. Speaking of the transformative power of literature, he urged students to play the long game and think of a book as a seed being planted that will generate a forest of ideas in time to come.

Pinto and Yoon were unreserved and generous in their responses to the 80 members strong audience during the Q&A session which addressed questions from the youthful gathering, including authorial intention, the power of reading, the impact of technology on the young mind, and the writer’s inspiration.