Vidyodaya Literary Awards - a fillip for local literature | Sunday Observer

Vidyodaya Literary Awards - a fillip for local literature

3 September, 2023
Virajini Tennakoon’s ‘Andhaya Saha Suruttu Nyaya’ won Best Short Story Collection of the Year
Virajini Tennakoon’s ‘Andhaya Saha Suruttu Nyaya’ won Best Short Story Collection of the Year

The Sri Jayewardenepura University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted a momentous occasion on September 1, 2023, as the 14th Vidyodaya Literary Awards ceremony unfolded in a dazzling celebration of Sri Lanka’s literary prowess.

The evening was further distinguished by the presence of Chairman of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL) - Lake House, Prof. Harendra Nishantha Kariyawasam, who expressed his pride in this cultural collaboration. ANCL was the media sponsor of the event.

The highlight of the evening was the recognition of exceptional literary works published in 2022, spanning various genres such as novels, short stories, poetry, lyrics, columns, and academic publications in humanities and social sciences.

The focal point of the evening was crowning of the “Best Novel of the Year,” a title bestowed upon the remarkable work, “Girija,” authored by Manohari Jayalath.

This Vidarshana publication stood out as a testament to the enduring power of story telling. This accolade signifies the remarkable contributions of Sri Lankan authors to the world of literature.

The 14th Vidyodaya Literary Awards, a prestigious cultural event that has been held intermittently since its inception in 2000, made a triumphant return despite previous cancellations due to various reasons including Covid-19. It continues to serve as a beacon for contemporary literature in Sri Lanka.

In addition to the best novel category, the ceremony recognised excellence in various other literary domains:

• Best Short Story: “Andhaya Saha Suruttu Nyaya” by Virajini Tennakoon, a Sarasavi Publication.

• Best Poetry: “Hengum Gangehi Hengila” by Lakshantha Atukorale, a Vidarshana Publication.

• Best Column: “Tomson Mahattaya 1” and “Tomson Mahattaya 2” by Bandula P. Dayaratne, published by S. Godage and Brothers.

• Best Academic Publication: “Warna: Sannivedanaya Ha Sagnartha” by W. Ranjith Dharmatilake, a publication by S. Godage and Brothers.

Prof. Kariyawasam expressed his admiration for the collaboration between Vidyodaya University and Lake House, emphasising their shared mission to nurture and promote Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage.

He reaffirmed Lake House’s commitment to supporting the cultural awakening of the nation, highlighting its position as the largest and oldest newspaper house in Sri Lanka.

He said that the Lake House - Vidyodaya partnership represents more than just a literary endeavor; it symbolises a new beginning in literature, reminding the audience that the concept of the “alternative” extends beyond politics into the realm of literature.

He expressed pride in the partnership between these two iconic institutions.

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda, praised the Vidyodaya Literary Awards for its role in fostering contemporary literature.

He said that when academics engage with these works, they become part of the larger discourse, ultimately benefiting not only themselves but also inspiring future generations of scholars.

The presence of distinguished figures such as Prof. Emeritus Sunil Ariyaratne, Vice-Chancellor of Sri Jayewardenepura University Senior Prof. Pathmalal Manage, Managing Director of University Publishing House Premasiri Haputantri, and Prof. Praneet Abeysundara, among others, added to the grandeur of the event.

It was attended by a multitude of academics and journalists who gathered to celebrate the literary excellence and cultural significance of the Vidyodaya Literary Awards.

In essence, the 14th Vidyodaya Literary Awards ceremony was not only a celebration of literary excellence but also a testament to the enduring commitment of institutions like Lake House in fostering cultural awakening and promoting the rich literary heritage of Sri Lanka.

It was an evening that showcased the power of words to inspire, educate, and unify a nation through the medium of literature.

Lakshan Athukorala’s ‘Hagum Gangey Hangila’ won Best Poetry Collection of the Year. The award was presented by Janaka Inimankada of Vidharshana Publishers who published the book

Ranjith Dharamathilaka won Best Collection of Academic Writings of the Year (Humanities and Social Sciences) for his ‘Varna: Sanniwedanaya Saha Sangyadhara’

The Best Collection of Columns went to ‘Thompson Mahattaya -1, 2’ by Bandula P. Dayarathne. (Pictures By Dushmantha Mayadunne & Chinthaka Kumarasinghe)