ABOUT US

Write to Reconcile, now in its third year, was inaugurated in December of 2012 by the internationally renowned Sri Lankan author, Shyam Selvadurai, in conjunction with the National Peace Council. It is funded by the American Centre. The project brought together emerging Sri Lankan writers who were interested in writing fiction, memoir or poetry in English on the issues of conflict, peace, reconciliation, memory and trauma, as they related to Sri Lanka’s civil war and the postwar period. During each year of the project, these emerging writers, under the guidance of Shyam Selvadurai, honed their craft of writing over the course of a residential workshop and two online forums. The work they produced was published in three anthologies-Write to Reconcile, Write to Reconcile 11 and Write to Reconcile 111. The fiction, memoir and poetry in the anthologies shows a diversity of cultural, ethnic and geographical points of view on the civil war and its aftermath, as well as a diversity of styles and genres. Two Thousand copies of each anthology were mailed to libraries and schools across the country and can be downloaded from the Anthology tab at the top of this page, or by clicking on the titles above.


Thoughts from previous participants:


"A lifetime experience which inscribed in me the deep insights of literature and creative writing."
-Saambavi Sivaji, Uduvil, Jaffna.

"Write to Reconcile helped me understand the complexities of the war and issues of race which exist within Sri Lanka. Because these issues are rarely discussed, I felt this was a great opportunity to meet people from different communities within Sri Lanka and learn the history of the country which isn't taught in textbooks, along with site visits and discussions with people who have experience working and living in war zones which helped us gain an overview of the issue."
-Kaveesha Fernando, Colombo.

"Write to Reconcile was the fuel I needed to restart the worn down engine of my dreams of becoming a writer. This opportunity has only proven to me that I am responsible for the future we hand over to the next generation and it is my responsibility to make my country a better place, with my actions and with my words."
-Hafsa Mazahim, Colombo.

"I was able to gain in-depth knowledge about writing skills in from WTR lectures . One of the goals of my student career was to write my own short story collection and WTR has helped me do this."
-Chathuni Jalathge, Galle.

"Write to Reconcile was a great experience from day one. Everything in the workshop was balanced and I felt like I was vacationing and learning at the same time. Meeting people from different ethnicities and talking about problems we would normally avoid were awesome experiences to be a part of. It was not just about writing, it was also about fun."
-Shan Dissanayake, Colombo.

"Write to Reconcile was a wonderful experience - deeply moving, truly humbling, and ultimately empowering. It helped me connect to my Sri Lankan heritage, explore the shared trauma of our painful past, and use creativity to unite us for a better future."
-Nikini Jayatunga, U.K.

 

Shyam Selvadurai

Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1965. He came to Canada with his family at the age of nineteen. He has studied creative writing and theatre and has a BFA from York University, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Funny Boy, his first novel, was published to acclaim in 1994 and won the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award and in the US the Lambda Literary Award. It was translated into 8 languages. His second novel, Cinnamon Gardens, was published in Canada, the UK, the US and translated into 9 languages.

Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1965. He came to Canada with his family at the age of nineteen. He has studied creative writing and theatre and has a BFA from York University, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Funny Boy, his first novel, was published to acclaim in 1994 and won the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award and in the US the Lambda Literary Award. It was translated into 8 languages. His second novel, Cinnamon Gardens, was published in Canada, the UK, the US and translated into 9 languages.


He is the editor of an anthology, Story-Wallah: A Celebration of South Asian Fiction, published in Canada and the US, and his novel for young adults, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and is the winner of the Lambda Literary Award in the US, the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award and Silver Winner in the Young Adult Category of ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award. His fourth novel, The Hungry Ghosts, was published April 2, 2013 in Canada, India and Sri Lanka. It was shortlisted for Canada's prestigious Governor General's Award for Fiction and longlisted for the DSC South Asia Literature Prize. His latest work is a comprehensive anthology of Sri Lankan literature, Many Roads Through Paradise.


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The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka (NPC) is an independent and impartial national non-governmental organization. Our mission is to work in partnership with different target groups to educate, mobilize and advocate to build a society of rights conscious citizens and a political culture that enables a political solution to the ethnic conflict and equal opportunities to all.

“What is the purpose of writing? For me personally, it is really to explain the mystery of life, and the mystery of life includes, of course, the personal, the political, the forces that make us what we are while there's another force from inside battling to make us something else.”


- Nadine Gordimer-