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Still Counting the Dead: A welcome first step

Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War, by Frances Harrison, Portobello Books, 246 pp, £ 14.99 “We used to be a very proud people”1 – Uma, The Teacher I Few years ago, during a very wintery January weekend, at a Copenhagen hotel, I was scrambling to prepare a last minute Power Point presentation […]

Being small, thinking Big: Publishing for the International Market

Original photo courtesy Tarika Wickremeratne Being small, thinking Big: Publishing for the International Market from the perspective of an independent small publisher concentrating on fiction) Sri Lanka, like many countries of the Asia-pacific region, has long been an exotic destination for travelers in search of the unusual, and as can be expected, there are quite a […]

Invitation to prospective writers: A Sri Lankan Anthology of Hint Fiction

Photo courtesy The Blue Bookcase Around two months ago, I picked up on a whim Hint Fiction edited by Robert Swartwood. Swartwood’s definition of hint fiction is ‘a story of 25 words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story’. As the book’s blurb on Amazon notes, “The stories in this collection run the gamut […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: S is for Singlish

Singlish is the term used to describe the mixture of Sinhala and English which is frequently used by bilingual speakers. But Singapore got there first: Singlish is generally accepted as referring to colloquial Singaporean English. In a Sri Lankan context, the word tends to be used humorously or derogatorily to refer to colloquial usage which […]

Review of ‘Kandy at War’ by Channa Wickremesekera

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Travel Guide “When we think of it, we see at once what the confusion of thought was to which the Western poet [i.e. Rudyard Kipling], dwelling upon the difference between East and West, referred when he said, ‘Never the twain shall meet.’ It is true that they are not yet showing […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: R is for rubber slippers

Image courtesy Odel They’re called thongs in Australia, jandals in New Zealand, Hawaii chappals in India and Pakistan. According to Wikipedia, they’re known as slip-slops in South Africa, go-aheads in the South Pacific, japonkis in Poland, and vietnamkis in Russia. The standard term in the UK and the US is flip-flops. Here in Sri Lanka […]

Arthur C Clarke’s World of 2012: Insights from his Titanic Novel

The year was 1989. Margaret Thatcher and George Bush, Snr., were in office. Mikhail Gorbachev was slowly but surely dismantling the Soviet Union. The infamous Iron Curtain was crumbling under pressure from ‘people power’ across Eastern Europe. On the technology front, Personal Computers (PCs) had entered the market only a few years earlier: they were […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: Q is for quazi

Equality before the law? I’m no lawyer, but I have always wondered how this fundamental principle is possible in a country with several different legal systems operating alongside one another. The main systems are Roman-Dutch law and the British legal system, bequeathed by the colonial administrators. But three other systems also survive – Kandyan law, […]

Some Comments of Udayasiri Wickramaratne’s ‘Suddek Oba Amathai’

Photo courtesy Suddek Oba Amatai Facebook page It is Lakshman Piyasena, introduced to me by my friend Jayantha Dhanapala, who first told me of Udayasiri Wickramaratne’s play. Piyasena urged Dhanapala and me to see a performance of Suddek Oba Amatai and kept us informed of dates when the play was due to go on the boards […]