Features

How concept bookstore 'Venpaa' in Jaffna is meeting a need for Tamil literature

23 August 2019 - 214   - 0

'Venpaa' in Tamil refers to a branch of classical Tamil poetry. Bearing this classic Tamil name, a distinctive bookstore called ‘Venpaa’ has become the talk of the town in Jaffna ever since its inception in December 2018.

Venpaa is the first concept bookstore in Jaffna solely dedicated to providing  Tamil books published in different parts of the world in one place. The physical outlet of Venpaa is located in College Road, Jaffna, next to Jaffna Hindu Primary School. The online platform can be accessed at www.venpaa.lk.

This is the first online platform in Sri Lanka where you can buy worldwide Tamil publications. A bookstore of this sort, where everything is carefully handpicked fulfills the void that prevailed in Jaffna peninsula in terms of book buying. The Jaffna community which had seen the ravages of war for three decades is in the process of recovering and healing through resilience. This happens through learning, understanding and knowledge sharing.

Valuable books are the dire need of the younger generation in Jaffna and Venpaa works towards fulfilling this need by prioritizing the availability of Tamil books. One of the goals of Venpaa is to enhance the creative intelligence of the youth.

Books in Venpaa are chosen through intense scrutiny. These books are not limited to one particular genre but diverse. They range from Fiction, Non-fiction, Children’s books, Tamil classics, Science fiction, History, Philosophy, Spirituality to Tamil translations of World literature and much more.
 

The creative mind behind this innovative bookstore is  29-year- old  Sudharshan Subramaniam. Sudharshan was born and bred in Jaffna. As a child, having experienced the war first-hand he grew up listening to the stories of war from his grandmother and one story which affected him the most and which is one of the reasons behind the creation of Venpaa is the burning of the Jaffna public library.

His family was forced to leave their home in Jaffna during the war in 1995. Sudharshan and his family arrived in Colombo through a life-threatening journey. Ever since he left Jaffna, his mind was set on doing something for his community. Sudharshan is an avid reader and a writer himself. As a voracious reader, he always felt the lack of availability of good Tamil books in Sri Lanka. What he lacked, he wanted the next generation to have it.

As a result, Venpaa became the successful outcome of this young man’s dream to provide the best for the Jaffna community in the form of books. The selection of books in Venpaa is chosen by this writer and director himself.

Born into a middle-class family, he made his dream come true through dedication and hard work. Within eight months of opening Venpaa, he has achieved what he strived hard throughout his early twenties; a concept bookstore for the Jaffna community.

He has also earned a place in the upcoming book-fair in Jaffna which is scheduled to take place from August 27 - September 1 in Veerasingam Hall.

If you happen to visit the bookfair then say hello to the Venpa book store at stall number 18.   

        -Niharika-                                 

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