Writers Under Siege

Writers Under Siege

Groundviews invited renowed and award winning Sri Lankan poets, novellists and other writers to respond creatively to the overarching violence, impunity and the vicious clampdown on the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka through prose or verse.

Powerful, precise and politic contributions were requested.

Over the course of 2009, this page will reflect the writing of those who responded to this call. In March 2009, two poets – Indran Amirthanayagam and Sivamohan Sumathy – were the first to write in. Indran’s poetry has been repeatedly featured on Groundviews and it was Sumathy’s first expression on the site.

Original contributions:

Sivamohan Sumathy is attached to the Department of English, University of Peradeniya, where she teaches critical theory, the English literature of early modernity, theatre and critical theory. An award winning playwright, Sumathy has performed nationally and internationally, developing to her practice a theoretical formulation of drama called “a theatre of risk.’ A script writer and film maker, her two short films, ‘Piralayam’ (upheaval) and ‘Oranges’ have received critical acclaim nationally and internationally.

Indran Amirthanayagam writes poetry in English, Spanish and French. He also translates from Spanish to English. His books include, The Elephants of Reckoning (1994 Paterson Poetry Prize), El Infierno De Los Pajaros, Ceylon R.I.P., El Hombre Que Recoge Nidos, and The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems. Amirthanayagam’s translations of Mexican poet Manuel Ulaca were included in Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry. He won the Poetry Prize of the Juegos Florales in Guaymas, Sonora in 2006.

Vivimarie Vanderpoorten is the Winner of the Gratiaen Prize in 2007. Vivimarie is also a Senior Lecturer in English, Dept of Language Studies, Open University of Sri Lanka. The interview covers, in addition to her poetry, identity, culture and creative writing in Sri Lanka. For an in-depth video interview with Vivimarie, click here.

Other contributions published subsequently on Groundviews that echo the spirit of the initial call for submissions: