Initiated back in 1992 by Sri Lankan born Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje, the Gratiaen Prize is an annual literary prize awarded for the best work of literature in English. Currently in its 23rd year, the Gratiaen Prize accepts printed books and manuscripts in a range of genres including fiction, poetry, drama, creative prose and literary memoir. This year, out of 55 entries five entries were shortlisted.
In his comments about this year’s entries, Chairman of the Panel of Judges, Professor Sasanka Perera said that out of the 55 entries, 12 were withdrawn as they didn’t fulfill the basic requirements. "The submitted entries were in the form of short stories, poetry, poetry and short stories and many other genres. The authors were from diverse backgrounds; some retired, some in their youth and even established writers. As we are stepping in to the 25th anniversary of this event, I believe that the awards scheme needs to be diversified so that more attention is given to various other genres in creative writing. But I deeply appreciate the enthusiasm among the writers."
Along with Prof. Sasanka, the judges for the Gratiaen Prize 2016 are Chandana Dissanayake, academic and creative writer and Ruhanie Perera, performer, performance maker and lecturer.
The shortlisted entries and names of the authors are as follows:
"Introspection" - Published poems
Rizvina Morseth de Alwis
"The Memory of Loss" - Novel, manuscript
"SHORT EATS" - Collection of Short stories, manuscript
Charulatha Abeysekara Thewarathanthri
"Stories" - Novel, manuscript
"Borrowed Dust - a collection of poems" - Poetry, unpublished
The Gratiaen Prize 2016 is the second to be awarded under a new partnership between the Gratiaen Trust and Sarasavi Bookshop.
The winner will be announced at a final awards ceremony, sponsored by Sarasavi Bookshop Private Limited in May.
PHOTOGRAPHS by Kushan Pathiraja