- Five Sinhala novels shortlisted from record 125 published in 2017 in the running for prize purse of Rs. 1.25 m
The race for the ‘Swarna Pusthaka’ award, Sri Lanka’s richest literary prize, has entered the final stretch with five Sinhala novelists vying for a purse of Rs. 1.25 million – Rs. 750,000 to the winner and Rs. 100,000 each to the five finalists.
Presented annually for the past 11 years by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers’ Association (SLBPA), the Swarna Pusthaka (or Golden Book) award recognises the best work of Sinhala fiction published by a publishing company in the preceding year.
The 2018 award, to be presented at a grand ceremony at the BMICH on Saturday, 15 September, will go to the novel chosen through three rounds of judging of 125 novels published in 2017 and submitted for consideration.
The five novels that made the final shortlist are ‘Appachchi Ewith’ by Saman Wickramarachichi (Sarasavi Publishers), ‘Asanaga Wesi’ by Darshana Shammi Wijethilake (Susara Publishers), ‘Chakra’ by Jayatilaka Kammellaweera (Wijesuriya Grantha Kendraya), ‘Yakada Silpara’ by Wimal Udaya Hapugodaarachchi (Fast Publishing), and ‘Warana’ by Padmini Seneviratne (Vidarshana Publishers).
The winner of the 2018 Swarna Pusthaka award will receive a total of Rs. 850,000 in prize money, including the Rs 100,000 he or she is entitled to for making the final five.
A five-member supreme panel of judges will select the winner out of five novels that made the final shortlist. The judging panel for the first round comprised of 12 judges who were required to read every one of the 125 books. The 12 best novels shortlisted by this panel were then submitted to a second panel of five other judges, which cut the shortlist down to the final five.
The Chief Guest at the ‘Swarna Pusthaka’ Awards ceremony will be Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa, and the Guest of Honour Sampath Bank Managing Director Nanda Fernando. Sampath Bank is the Principal Sponsor of the 2018 Swarna Pusthaka award.
“This award scheme was created with the aim of motivating writers, bringing out the best literary works and stimulating reading,” said SLBPA Chairman Vijitha Yapa. “We are greatly encouraged by the response to the initiative and its evolution over the years.”
Presented by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association since 2007, the Swarna Pusthaka Awards program is held in conjunction with the Colombo International Book Fair (CIBF), which takes place every September. This year’s book fair opens on Friday, 21 September.