Posted on August 24, 2015

To encourage lifelong reading amongst Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) students, the university is pleased to host the annual ‘Life of the Mind’ reading program. This year, the initiative will feature award-winning author, Romesh Gunesekera (pictured), who will discuss and read from his latest book, Noontide Toll on Wednesday, August 26th at 6pm.

First year students received a copy of the book in advance of the program to read in preparation for an exclusive group discussion with the author and their peers. A public event ‘In Conversation with Romesh Gunesekera’, hosted by the Georgetown University in Qatar Library,  provides students a further opportunity to interact with the author in the Georgetown auditorium. Interim Library Director for GU-Q, Susan Leister, commented, “’Life of the Mind’ fosters the intellectual culture at Georgetown and brings together our faculty and students through the collaborative reading of a novel by an international author. The library is a pivotal part of every student’s education here and we hope this special event showcases our love for worldly authors, and sparks our students love of literature.”

Qatar Airways NY

Gunesekera’s latest book, Noontide Toll, features Vasantha, an early retiree who buys himself a van with his savings, and becomes a driver for hire. As he drives through Sri Lanka, carrying aid workers, businessmen, and families and meeting lonely soldiers and eager hoteliers, he reveals their uncertain lives through conversations. During his journey, Vasantha begins to discover the depth of his past problems, those of his country's, and the promise the future might hold.

This year’s feature author, Romesh Gunesekara emulates Georgetown’s diverse student population. Born in Sri Lanka, Gunesekara lived in the Philippines before moving to Britain, his current place of residence. His first novel Reef was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize and his fiction has been translated into many languages. Commenting on the upcoming ‘Life of Mind’ program, Gunesekera says, “I am very much looking forward to visiting Qatar and meeting students and readers. I am delighted to be travelling in the fictional company of the van driver Vasantha, who is the narrator of my book Noontide Toll. As he says, “If you are on the move, there is always hope.”

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