Gratiaen Trust presents ‘Doubling Ourselves,’ an online workshop on translations

Saturday, 30 January 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Gratiaen Trust, in association with John Keells Foundation, is convening an online workshop on translations on Saturday 6 March. 

To be held with the support of the Department of English of the University of Peradeniya and the Seagull School of Publishing, Kolkotta, ‘Doubling Ourselves’ is designed for aspiring and experienced translators of Sinhala and Tamil literature into English. This practical, one-day workshop facilitated by accomplished Sri Lankan translators, will give participants crucial insights into successful translations of literary works. 

The workshop will combine talks on translation and interactive, assignment-based, feedback-oriented sessions conducted in parallel for Sinhala and Tamil translation into English. The sessions will also include talks on how to publish translations. 

One of the big attractions will be a session conducted by the Seagull School of Publishing. Affiliated to Seagull Books, one of the world’s leading publishers of translations, the Seagull School of Publishing will guide participants on publication and successfully negotiating relationships between authors and publishers. Naveen Kishore, the Founder of Seagull Books, is a stalwart in the world of publishing and a much sought after speaker. He will be delivering the keynote speech. 

This workshop, which is the first activity of the Gratiaen Trust for 2021, coincides with the presentation of the H.A.I. Goonetileke Prize for Translation which will be awarded later this year. The Trust has two flagship awards, the annual Gratiaen Prize recognising the best creative English writing by Sri Lankan writers resident in the country, and the H.A.I. Goonetileke award for Translation, which is presented every two years. 

Translations of Sinhala and Tamil literature into English is of particular interest to the Gratiaen Trust because it enables local literatures to transcend language boundaries and enjoy a wider readership. 

Professor Neloufer de Mel, Chairperson of the Gratiaen Trust, noted that Michael Ondaatje’s vision in establishing the H.A.I. Goonetileke Prize was to recognise translations as an important way of learning about different perspectives and cultures, bringing about a greater understanding between communities. She further noted that Sri Lanka had a wealth of literary works in Sinhala and Tamil, and that good translations of these works into English will demonstrate their depth and breadth to readers of literature in English within Sri Lanka and beyond. 

The Gratiaen Trust is grateful to its primary sponsor, John Keells Foundation, as well as the Department of English of the University of Peradeniya and the Seagull School of Publishing for supporting the workshop.

To participate, entries must be emailed to by 15 February. Participants will need to have a good command of English and Sinhala or Tamil. They must have good digital literacy and have access to uninterrupted internet connectivity and good computer facilities. Further, all participants must be Sri Lankan citizens who are resident in Sri Lanka. For more details on how to submit applications, please send your queries to:

The Gratiaen Trust’s key mandate of nearly three decades has been to support and promote literary excellence in Sri Lanka. Established in 1992, The Trust has worked closely with authors, academics, readers, publishers and other professionals in Sri Lanka’s literary world to promote better works of creative English writing. 

‘Doubling Ourselves’ is one of a series of workshops that aims to add value to the quality of creative output of Sri Lankan writers. Towards this, the Trust has forged collaborations with individuals and organisations from Sri Lanka as well as from within the region and beyond, with the goal of providing Sri Lankan writers the opportunity to work with and learn from experts in different areas of writing and publishing.