The Fairway National Literary Award competition reached a successful conclusion on 26 January at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival. The award ceremony took place at 5:30 p.m. at the Fairway Pavilion in the Galle Fort. Present at the event as chief guest was Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera. Several other Cabinet Ministers were also present as guests of honour.
The Fairway National Literary Award is the only competition of its kind that accommodates all three main languages of Sri Lanka.
The panels of judges selected a total of 13 novels for the shortlists – five from the Sinhala language category and four each from the English and Tamil language categories. Each shortlisted novelist in each language category received a cash prize of Rs. 100,000, while the eventual winner of each language category received a cash prize of Rs. 500,000. The winner of the Sinhala category was ‘Pandaka Puthra Wasthuwa’ by Anurasiri Hettige, while Theniyaan the author of ‘Ethanam’ claimed the prize in the Tamil category. The winning novel in the English category was ‘The Other One’ authored by Amanda Jay.
The judges for the English language category are; Ranjani Obeyesekere – academic, literary critic and translator in the fields of literature, and theatre and performance, ‘Jolly’ Somasundaram – retired civil servant, writer, playwright, and film and literary critic, and Arun Welandawe – Prematilleke – actor, playwright, director and specialist in immersive theatre.
The shortlisted novels in the English language category:
‘Dutugemunu: Prince of Destiny’ by Rukmani Samaranayake,
‘Song of the Sun God’ by Shankari Chandran,
‘Wrath of Kali: The Dark Side of God’ by Mario Perera
‘The Other One’ by Amanda Jay.
The panel of judges for the Sinhala language category comprises of Gamini Viyangoda – writer, translator, social activist and political columnist, Buddhadasa Galappaththi – poet, writer, award winning columnist and stage drama make-up artist, and Prabha Manuratne – academic and literary critic championing feminist theory, Marxism and psychoanalysis.
The novels that have
been shortlisted were:
‘Handha Paluwa Thani Tharuwa’ by Nishshanka Wijemanna,
‘Yakada Silpara’ by Wimal Udaya Hapugodaarachchi,
‘Garunda Muhurthaya’ by Keerthi Welisarage,
‘Pandaka Puthra Wasthuwa’ by Anurasiri Hettige
‘Nikini Kaluwara’ by Deepthi Mangala Rajapaksha.
The Tamil language category’s judging panel comprises of V. Maheswaran – academic and award-winning writer, SumathySivamohan – academic, award winning film-maker, writer, performer, playwright and poet, and M.S.M. Anes – academic, writer and translator in the areas of philosophy, culture, music and folklore.
The four shortlisted
‘Thazhumbu’ by M. Balasingham, ‘Kulaimurisal’ by J. Wahabdeen,
‘Ethanam’ by Theniyaan
‘Neenthik Kadantha Nerupparu’ by N. Yohendranathan.
The primary purpose of the Fairway National Literary Award competition is to recognise, encourage and reward excellent creative writing in Sri Lanka. Organised, sponsored and presented by Fairway Holdings, the competition has become increasingly popular and the announcement of the winners for 2017 was eagerly awaited.