LIRNEasia congratulates Chiranthi Rajapakse and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, who recently became the recipients of the prestigious Gratiaen Prize, 2023. Their winning works were titled ‘Keeping time and other stories’ (short story collection) and ‘The wretched and the damned’ (novel) respectively. This prize recognises creative writing in English by Sri Lankan authors who reside in the island. It’s awarded by the Gratiaen Trust, which was founded by Booker prize winning author Michael Ondaatje – who is of Sri Lankan origin.
“I think the fact that LIRNEasia is encouraging of people from diverse backgrounds and appreciates creative endeavors is a big plus. It’s a relaxed space where you can share the creative side of your life. I remember my LIRNEasia colleagues all turning up for the launch of my first book back in 2017. My own background is quite diverse (a better word would be confused!). I studied dentistry first and then gave it up and qualified as a lawyer, and while writing I’ve worked in journalism, research, communications and project management. I think perhaps it was all these different experiences that fed into my writing. At LIRNEasia, I felt valued for this diversity, I wasn’t expected to conform to a particular background and I really value that.”
– Chiranthi Rajapakse on being a creative while working at LIRNEasia