France rewards winners of Nights of Reading 2022 award

Saturday, 29 January 2022 01:51 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Grand prize for best short story presented by author Ashok Ferrey to Ciara Mandulee Mendis


By Tania de Silva

Sarasavi bookshop Director Amendra Haputhanthri


The Embassy of France in Sri Lanka and Maldives along with Sarasavi Bookshop Ltd., and the Alliance Française de Kotte in Colombo hosted the award ceremony of Nights of Reading 2022 earlier this week at One Galle Face Mall. 

French Ambassador Eric Lavertu was the Chief Guest, and Sarasavi Bookshop Ltd. Director Amendra Haputhanthri was among those present. 

“Nights of Reading” is an origination of a short story contest by the French Ministry of Culture which celebrates the pleasure of reading all around the world. This was their second edition and the organising committee wanted to read aspiring and confirmed authors. 

The Jury composed of a panel of distinguished judges: Sri Lankan author Ashok Ferrey, French Ambassador Eric Lavertu, Embassy’s Cultural and Cooperation Counsellor Bernard Lelarge, Cultural Attachée Aurelia Collard, Press Attachée Dinusha Ileperuma, Alliance Française de Kotte’s Executive Committee member Dilip Samarasinghe, and S.A.S.B. Subasinghe, translator and former officer at the Sri Lankan Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and member of the panel of judges, State of Literary Awards.

The contest was open to all residents of Sri Lanka and the short story could be written in English, but it should include the following sentence by French author Victor Hugo, ‘Let’s love always! Let’s love again’. 

Ultimately by 11 January 2022, there were 165 submissions in total which were collected from the contestants. The three winners of the contest of “Nights of Reading 2022”: 

1st Place – Ciara Mandulee Mendis for her story “The Bringer of Happiness”

2nd place – Ravisha Hapuarachchi for her story “The Portrait”

3rd place – Ashfa Nazeem for her story “Bookworms of a war-torn city”

Prizes were awarded to the top three winners in the form of Sarasavi bookshop gift vouchers. The winners also shared a small part of their story with the audience. 

Sri Lankan author Ashok Ferrey admitted the standard was high at the contest and said, “There should be two things in a good writer. First one is a very strong voice and the second one is the use of confident English. I believe the winners do have it.” 

Pix by Ruwan Walpola


Third prize award presented by French Ambassador Eric Lavertu to Ashfa Nazeem