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An Ode To Kandyan Women

Apr 30, 2011 3:19:32 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Nanda Pethiyagoda Wanasundera’s latest literary effort, and her first work of researched non-fiction, was launched recently in Colombo. The book is titled Emerged: Noteworthy Women From Kandy and profiles eight women from traditional, conservative families in and around the hill capital.
Emerged tells the story how some women went on to achieve success in a variety of fields thus paving the way for others to achieve similar career success and recognition. The book also examines the social norms and conventions prevalent in Kandy in the early half of the 20th century such as patriarchy, conservatism, colonialism and local marriage laws.
Attendees were treated to a recital by renowned singer and songwriter Nimal Mendis. Nimal dedicated his performance to all women in general, and two women in particular, his late sister and recently deceased wife, Ranjini. He started off with a rendition of his most famous work, Master Sir and then went on to reprise old standards such as Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow and also introduced newer pieces like Time Stands Still For Me.
Savitri Goonesekere, emeritus professor of law and former vice-chancellor of the University of Colombo, was the chief guest and delivered the keynote address. In her insightful speech Professor Goonesekere touched on the distinct cultural milieu of the Kandy region, such as modes of dress and jewellery. She also recounted her own experiences with cultural norms and conventions of the hill country when growing up.
The evening concluded with a book-signing and informal reception, where the author was encouraged to begin work on a second volume to bring to light the achievements of the many other noteworthy women from the hills of Sri Lanka.
Emerged: Noteworthy Women From Kandy is priced at Rs. 950 and is available at Godage Book Emporium and other bookshops.

The Sweet And Simple Kind: 4,000 Copies Ordered For North America
The Sweet And Simple Kind, Yasmine Gooneratne’s acclaimed novel about love and politics in 1950s Sri Lanka, has struck a resonant chord overseas, where the North American distributor of books from the British publisher Little Brown UK is reprinting 4,000 copies in paperback, following the swift depletion of original stocks imported from Britain.
This book, shortlisted for both the Commonwealth Writers’ Fiction Prize and Dublin IMPAC International awards, was originally published by Perera Hussein Publishers of Colombo.
Praised for the charm of its writing and the subtle insights it brings to the political life of this country, The Sweet And Simple Kind is the third novel by an author well known for her work on classic British writers Jane Austen and Alexander Pope.
Now working on a new book set in post-conflict Sri Lanka, Yasmine Gooneratne lives in Colombo.