Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera said that literary works in Sinhala, Tamil and English fostered greater understanding and reconciliation between Sri Lankans.
Addressing the 2017 Fairway National Literary Award in Galle at the Fairway Literary Festival, the Minister said this was the only National Literary Awards competition which accommodated all three of the main languages used in Sri Lanka.
“The Fairway National Literary Awards in all three national languages, which is now in its third year, has become a component of the Literary Festival that is much looked forward to, and it makes me feel extremely privileged to have been invited to this remarkable event this year,” the Minister said.
“This to me is an important aspect of these awards as it plays a role in portraying our true national character, representing Sinhala, Tamil as well as English writing which helps foster greater understanding among the different users of these three languages, while inspiring each to learn and appreciate the language of the other,” he said.
“This is a crucial component in fostering reconciliation among the people of Sri Lanka,” Minister Samaraweera emphasized.
He presented the awards to the winners of the Fairway National Literary Awards.
Thirteen novels from the three language categories were shortlisted in September last year to contend for the Fairway National Literary Awards.
Amanda Jayatissa, a first-time writer, was the winner of the 2017 Fairway National Literary Award in English category for her book ‘The Other One’, an engaging and twisty steampunk influenced science fiction work, standing out from the rest in genre and theme.
Anurasiri Hettige was the winner of the Fairway National Literary Award 2018 in the Sinhala category for his novel Pandaka Puthra Wasthuwa. Each shortlisted novelist will receive a sum of Rs. 100,000 and the winning novelists in the three language categories will each receive Rs. 500,000.
Inaugurated in 2015 by Fairway Holdings Ltd. to coincide with its title sponsorship of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, the Fairway National Literary Award was created to reward novelists of all three of Sri Lanka’s languages. It aims not only to acknowledge the efforts of outstanding writers but also to inspire and encourage upcoming local writers as well.