Gra­ti­aen Prize 2018 and H.A.I. Goonetilek­e Prize for Trans­la­tion

Arun We­landawe Pre­matilleke and Prof. Vini Vitha­rana emerge as win­ners

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FEATURES -

“The One Who Loves You So”, a play by Arun We­len­dawe Pre­matilleke won the Gra­ti­aen Prize 2018, for the best work of creative writ­ing in English by a Sri Lankan writer liv­ing in Sri Lanka. The H.A.I. Goonetilek­e Prize for Trans­la­tion, which was also awarded yes­ter­day, was won by Prof. Vini Vitha­rana for his trans­la­tion of the much-ac­claimed Sin­hala clas­sic Kav Si­lu­mina.

Arun We­landawe Pre­matilleke’s playscript was one of four short­listed works for the Gra­ti­aen Prize. The others on the short list were She­han Karunati­lake’s novel “Chats with the Dead”, “Youth­ful Es­capades” by Upali Ma­haliyana and “They Failed to Kill Her” by Ze­neefa Za­neer.

The Gra­ti­aen Prize judges ob­served that the win­ning en­try was “a consummate work of art in one of the hardest of gen­res to re­alise suc­cess – both on the page and on the stage”. A play about two young men nav­i­gat­ing their re­la­tion­ships, the judges said that Arun We­landawe Pre­matilleke has clearly mas­tered the art form, “un­der­stand­ing the power of what is said and what re­mains un­said, what is seen and what is sur­mised.”

There were 11 en­tries for the H.A.I. Goonetilek­e Prize this year. Prof. Su­mathy Si­va­mo­han, the chair of the judg­ing panel noted that Prof. Vitha­rana’s trans­la­tion had a dis­tinc­tive voice ac­ces­si­ble to the ordinary reader, a con­sis­tent use of me­ter and rhyme, and eminently de­served its place within the canon of trans­la­tions of clas­si­cal texts.

The judges for the Gra­ti­aen Prize 2018 were: Gill Caldicott, Di­rec­tor, Bri­tish Coun­cil, Sri Lanka (chair), Ramya Ji­ras­inghe, creative writer and re­searcher, and Andi Schu­bert, univer­sity aca­demic and so­cial re­searcher. The judges for the H.A.I. Goonetilek­e Prize 20172018 were Prof. Su­mathy Si­va­mo­han (chair), film maker and aca­demic, Prof. Saumya Liyan­age, drama­tist, ac­tor and aca­demic, Charu­latha The­warathanth­ri, writer; and Es­ther Suren­thi­raraj, univer­sity aca­demic.

The event was held in front of an in­vited au­di­ence of writ­ers, aca­demics, trans­la­tors, pub­lish­ers, prin­ci­pals, teach­ers and stu­dents study­ing English lit­er­a­ture for A lev­els in schools, and univer­sity stu­dents. Speak­ing at the event Mr. H. D. Pre­masiri, Chair­man of the Sarasavi Group noted that, as one of the largest pub­lish­ers in the country, Sarasavi Book­shop rec­og­nized the power of lit­er­a­ture to shape and in­flu­ence so­ci­ety, and that this vi­sion had prompted Sarasavi to part­ner with the Gra­ti­aen Trust. Prof. Neloufer de Mel, Chair­per­son of the Gra­ti­aen Trust stated that in its 26th year, the Trust was mov­ing into new direc­tions, em­bark­ing on a pro­gram of Bene­fac­tors and Friends of the Trust, work­shops and men­tor­ing of writ­ers. She said the aim of the Trust was to sup­port writ­ers and trans­la­tors achieve sus­tained ex­cel­lence in their creative work.

Par­tic­i­pants test­ing out design think­ing and pro­to­typ­ing He­minda Jayaweera, Co-founder of Thuru con­duct­ing the work­shop

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