ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 13

What were the criteria of this literary celebration?

“Kaleidescope” an anthology of Sri Lankan Literature edited by D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke was presented to me with the comment “this is a collection of unusual Sri Lanka writing”. It certainly is – some of it makes good reading. Prof. Goonetilleke has to be congratulated for delving into the past and providing material from books long out of print namely – the poems of Sunethra Wickremasinghe, Earle Mendis, Hector de Alwis, Rev. W.S. Senior, Lakdasa Wickramasinghe.

The work of eminent authors have been included, unfortunately the works of a number of equally eminent writers have been omitted. The author in his introduction states “this is an attempt to celebrate the achievement of Sri Lankan literature in English.” I beg to differ as many of our recognized authors have been excluded.

In mentioning them alphabetically they are – Jean Arasanayagam, Tissa Abeysekera, Alfreda de Silva, Basil Fernando, James Goonewardena, Ashley Halpe, Sita Kulatunge, Christine Spittel Wilson, R.L. Spittel.

This list I am sure is far from complete, in addition there are the occasional writers such as the late Richard de Zoysa, Arjuna Parakrama and Rajiva Wijesinha and those who have made their mark in the last decade. For eg: Madhubashini Ratnayake, Ashok Ferrey, Ameena Hussein to mention a few.

Another interesting point is that only five of the Gratiaen Award writers (this award was initiated in 1993) have been included. It will be interesting to know on what criteria the selections for this anthology were based.

By Premini Amerasinghe, Kandy

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