The Past is Another Country is a series of interviews with individuals distinguished for their contributions to culture and to society. In addition to discussing their individual contributions, the programmes explore the context in which each of them functioned. The interviews, by Rajiva Wijesinha, cover a range of developments in post-independence Sri Lanka, and present a panoramic view of social change in the latter half of the 20th century.

Anne Ranasinghe is a German of Jewish origin, whose entire family was killed by the Nazi regime. She escaped by being sent on her own to England as a child. Having then married Prof D A Ranasinghe, she brought up a family in Sri Lanka, where she has lived for over 60 years. A distinguished poet, she has also been an inspiration to young writers through her stewardship for many years of the English Writers Cooperative.