Standard Chartered hosts 2011 Gratiaen and HAIG Prize

- www.ft.lk

The annual Gratiaen Prize, in affiliation with Standard Chartered Bank, will be announced on the 26th May 2012 at an exclusive event hosted by the Bank. The Gratiaen Prize is awarded to the best work written in English – published or unpublished – by a resident Sri Lankan.

Gratiaen Trust Chairperson Walter Perera addressing the audience at the announcement of the short list

The five writers shortlisted for the coveted Prize from among 47 entries are Charulatha Abeysekara Thewarathanthri for Autumn Leaves (Unpublished Novel), Lucky de Chickera’s Sarasu…amidst slums of terror (Published Novel), Madhubhashini Disanayaka-Ratnayake for There’s Something I Have to Tell You (Unpublished Novel), Mariam Riza’s Cry For Me A Little: Stories Of The Souls (Published short stories), and Malinda Seneviratne for Some Texts are Made of Leaves (Unpublished poetry).

Standard Chartered Bank’s Chief Executive, Anirvan Ghosh-Dastidar speaking of the prize, initiated in 1993 by Booker Prize-winner Michael Ondaatje, said “The bank is very proud of its long affiliation with the award which is now in its 19th year. The prize has successfully provided an impetus to encouraging creative writing in English in the country, and we look forward to seeing even greater enthusiasm as the years progress.”
This year’s Gratiaen Awards includes the HAI Goonetileke Prize for translation, initiated in 2003 and awarded every other year to strengthen the Gratiaen Trust’s mandate of promoting original writing in English by recognizing those who provide English readers access to the rich literature of Sinhala and Tamil. The HAI Goonetileke Prize is named after Ian Goonetileke, Sri Lanka’s most renowned librarian, national bibliographer, and researcher extraordinaire. His Bibliography of Ceylon (1970-1983) is an important work on the history of English literature pertaining to Sri Lanka.
Carl Muller and Lalitha Withanachchi were the first winners of the Gratiaen Prize in 1993 for the Jam Fruit Tree and the Wind Blows over the Hills respectively. Subsequent winners have included Shehan Karunatilaka (Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew), which has been subsequently published in the UK and US, and selected by Waterstones for inclusion in “Our pick of the best first novels of 2011”; the late Nihal de Silva (Road from Elephant Pass), the basis of the eponymous popular motion picture, Elmo Jayawardene (Sam’s Story), the late Tissa Abeysekara (Bringing Tony Home) and Punyakante Wijenaike (Amulet). Previous winners of the HAI Goonetileke Prize were Nandithiya as the Chameleon, author Sunethra Rajakarunanayake translated by Vijita Fernando; The Hour When the Moon Weeps, Liyanage Amarakeerthi translated by Kumari Goonesekere; and Sedona, author Eva Ranaweera translated by Edmund Jayasuriya.

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