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Gratiaen Prize 2020 winners to be announced on July 02

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The winners of the Gratiaen Prize 2020 and the H A I Goonethilake Prize for Translation will be announced on July 02 at an online event live-streamed at 7.00 PM on the Facebook page of the Gratiaen Trust.

The Gratiaen Prize shortlist for 2020, which was announced on April 5, 2021 is: Ameena Hussain for Chasing Tall Tales and Mystics: Ibn Batuta in Sri Lanka – a creative telling of the journeys of Ibn Batuta; Carmel Miranda for Crosswatch – a medical mystery novel; Jehan Aloysius for Mind Games – a dramatic script; Lal Medawattegedara for Restless Rust – a novel in manuscript form; and Ciara Mandulee Mendis for Red Brick Wall a collection of short stories in manuscript form.

This year the judging panel is chaired by Mahendran Thiruvarangan, a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Jaffna and an active arts and political commentator. Other members in the panel are well-known creative writer and public personality Ashok Ferrey and Victoria Walker, a former diplomat and passionate supporter of arts and culture, currently working as a volunteer for Sri Lanka’s Design for Sustainable Development Foundation. Detailed bios of the jury members can be found on the Gratiaen Trust website.

The judging panel for the H A I Goonethilake Prize, which is awarded bi-annually, is: Rohana Seneviratne, a professor at the Department of Classical Languages at the University of Peradeniya (Chair), Sivanandam Sivasegaram, a former professor at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Peradeniya and a veteran Tamil translator and Kaushalya Fernando a well-known bilingual dramatist and actress. The H A I Goonethilake Prize seeks to address a critical gap in the Sri Lankan literary scene where literary work published in Sinhala and Tamil rarely becomes available in English. The H A I Goonethilake Prize recognizes excellence in translation to foster a more robust culture of literary exchange between local languages and English with the long-term vision of taking Sri Lankan local-language writing to a much broader audience by making it available in English.

The Gratiaen Prize 2020 is the second award event to be presented under the Gratiaen Trust’s continuing partnership with John Keells Foundation – the CSR entity of the John Keells Group – following the Primary Sponsorship Agreement entered into between the parties in October 2019. This partnership falls within John Keells Foundation’s focus area of Arts & Culture aimed at nurturing the livelihoods of artists towards safeguarding and promoting Sri Lankan arts and culture under its overall vision of “Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow”.

This is also the second consecutive year that the Gratiaen Prize has been forced to adapt to the restrictions placed by the global Coronavirus pandemic. However, despite the significant challenges posed by the current context, the Gratiaen Trust remains committed to promoting and recognizing English creative writing in Sri Lanka. 
 



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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