Guide Books

Sri Lanka Lonely Planet Guide
The Sri Lanka guide from the popular Lonely Planet series

Footprint Guide to Sri Lanka
Contains excellent maps

Rough Guide to Sri Lanka
When asked where his most fantasy holiday would be, Mark Ellingham, the founder of The Rough Guide series, replied:"Taprobane..a small island off the coast of Sri Lanka"

Handbook for the Ceylon Traveller
An excellent locally produced guidebook which contains factual information on many places left out by foreign guide books (there is a copy on Taprobane but it can also be obtained from most Colombo bookshops and hotel lobbies)

The Insight guide to Sri Lanka
Stunning photographs and good historical and cultural information, though sadly now a bit dated

Sri Lanka: The Bradt Travel Guide
Stunning photographs and good historical and cultural information, though sadly now a bit dated

Luxe Guide to Sri Lanka
Excellent pocket size guide with witty and irreverent text, but spot on with its recommendations


Insight Map
A laminated flexi map of Sri Lanka produced by Insight Guides

The National Atlas of Sri Lanka
Produced by the Government Survey Department, this compendium is similar to the The Times atlas series and has information on everything you need to know mapwise about Sri Lanka


Title : An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon
Author : Robert Knox
Description : imprisonment by the King of Kandy, written on his return to England. Knox's observations are not very different from those of modern day travellers.

Title : The Most Dangerous Moment
Author : Michael Tomlinson
Description : "He considered the most dangerous moment of the war and the one which caused him the greatest alarm was when the news was received that the Japanese fleet was heading for Ceylon and the naval base there". Lester Pearson speaking of Winston Churchill This book deals with the events leading up to, during and after the event

Title : Only Man is Vile
Author : William McGowan
Description : Account of modern ethnic troubles

Biographies / Autobiographies

Title : Images of Sri Lanka through American Eyes
Author : H.A.I.Goonetileke
Description : A select anthology of American writers' reflections on 19th and 20th century Ceylon

Title : The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon
Author : Sir Samuel W. Baker
Description : The Nuwara Eliya founder's experience of huntin,shootin and fishin in Ceylon

Title : An Invisible Spectator
Author : Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno
Description : Biography of Paul Bowles who owned the Taprobane Island in the 1950s

Title : The Gardens of Taprobane
Author : Count de Mauny
Description : Author's account of how he found, built and lived on Taprobane in his search for truth and beauty

Title : The Reefs of Taprobane
Author : Arthur C. Clarke
Description : Accounts by Arthur C. Clarke of some of his experiences in the country in which he is its most famous living foreigner

Title : Geoffrey Bawa
Author : Brian Brace Taylor
Description : A fitting tribute to Sri Lanka's most prominent architect

Title : An Island of my own
Author : Paul Bowles
Description : Published in the San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle 24 March 1985, Paul Bowles' description of the trials and tribulations of owning Taprobane Island. "Once we got the right cook, life became pleasant." I am pleased to say current day Taprobane has the right Cook! See Book website

Title : Leonard Woolf: A Biography
Author : Victoria Glendinning
Description : Biography of Lenard Woolf, British author, political theorist and Civil Servant who served in Sri Lanka

Title : Woolf in Ceylon
Author : Christopher Ondaatje
Description : An account of a long journey that he takes in the footsteps of his hero, from the Colombo where Woolf arrived in 1904, by way of Jaffna and Kandy, where he served the engine work of the Brtish Empire.


Title : Ceylon
Author : Lionel Wendt
Description : Stunning collection of black and white photographs taken in the 1930's by Ceylon's best known photographer

Title : The Architecture of an Island
Author : R.Lewcock,B Sansoni, L.Senanyake
Description : A wonderful and beautifully illustrated book of Sri Lanka's architectural heritage

Title : The 43 Group
Author : Neville Weereratne
Description : A chronicle of 50 years in the modern arts of Sri Lanka

Title : Lunuganga
Author : Geoffrey Bawa, Christoph Bon, Dominic Sansoni
Description : The story of the making of Geoffrey Bawa's spectacular garden near Bentota

Title : Tropical Houses
Author : Tim Street Porter
Description : Leading photographers selection of the worlds most beautiful tropical houses and includes Taprobane, The Sunhouse and The Beach House in Tangalle

Title : Sri Lanka Style: Tropical Design and Architecture
Author : Dominic Sansoni and Channa Daswatte
Description : Sri Lanka Style showcases over 30 of the finest traditional and modern dwellings in Sri Lanka, from private homes to retreats and resorts, all designed by the island's most creative architects and interior designers

Title : Living in Sri Lanka
Author : James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury
Description : in Sri Lanka one finds buildings of simple elegance and universal charisma: conversions and developments proud of the past, sensitive to present desires, prepared for the future, and displaying the best of multi-ethnic decoration with statues of the Buddha, Christian tapestries, Islamic footstalls, and Hindu sculpture. The discerning choice of houses is illustrated with over 200 color photographs of their interiors and of the breathtaking landscapes that surround them.

Title : Geoffrey Bawa The Complete Works
Author : David Robson
Description : Architecture trends come and go, often fueled by a preoccupation with technology, but master architects whose works transgress boundaries, history, and styles always have something to teach. In the work of Geoffrey Bawa there are lessons for all of us. 600 photographs and illustrations, 300 in color.

Title : Beyond Bawa: Modern Masterworks of Monson Asia
Author : David Robson and Richard Powers
Description : The book first presents a useful overview of Bawa and his contribution to contemporary architecture. The main section highlights the achievements of twenty-four contemporary architects, ranging from well-known practitioners such as Australian Kerry Hill to local talents such as Sri Lankan Anjalendran

Title : Bawa: The Sri Lanka Gardens
Author : David Robson and Dominic Sansoni
Description : The work of architect Geoffrey Bawa achieved a unique fusion of vernacular style, modern construction, and the tropical landscape of Sri Lanka


For a comprehensive selection; visit the Galle Literary Festival on line bookshop