SIRIMAVO second edition out

By Tissa Jayatilaka

The first edition of SIRIMAVO: Honouring the world’s first woman Prime Minister received an excellent reception. This book was released in December 2010 at an impressive ceremony in the Bandaranaike Memorial Convention Hall in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and an invited audience of close to a thousand people.

In the following weeks SIRIMAVO received high praise in three prominent reviews in the English language newspapers of Sri Lanka. Each reviewer made pointed reference to the consistently high standard of the essays in the publication. Each also appreciated the fact that this commemorative volume in honour of Prime Minister Bandaranaike has successfully and sensitively averted a customary pitfall generally found in publications of this nature, namely a tendency toward hagiography.

In addition, several readers have complimented the publisher -- the Bandaranaike Museum Committee -- and the editor for their roles in ensuring that the essays in honour of the late prime minister are dispassionate and balanced. Furthermore, the fact that these essays highlight Mrs. Bandaranaike’s achievements while also, with the advantage of hindsight, subjecting her less successful policy initiatives to critical scrutiny has won many a plaudit for the publication.

These responses doubtless contributed to the brisk sale of the 750 copies of the first edition. Within six months of its initial publication, all copies of the book have been sold.

In response to this continuing demand for the book, as well as the accolades it has won, the Editorial Committee explored the possibility of bringing out a second edition. The S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike National Memorial Foundation of Sri Lanka has generously funded the publication of a further 700 copies of SIRIMAVO, and the Committee believes that SIRIMAVO will prove to be something more than merely a commemorative gesture as the publication contains a vital collection of primary documents illuminating a piece of Sri Lankan history with symbolic and concrete relevance to the global community.

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