Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why Are There No Sri Lankan Authors?

I'm venturing down that lesser trodden path, the one where I get a bit serious. It's dangerous ground, so much so that at any stage I may shit myself and run back to the safety and sanctity of writing about total rubbish. Or sex, I believe that's quite popular in these parts!

I've been thinking about this for a while. I could be wrong and, if I am, I'm sure there'll be a queue of people jumping at me with lists of Sri Lankans who have sold more books than WH Smith or Amazon.com.

There are talented Sri Lankans who write books. People like Ashok Ferrey, David Blacker and Carl Muller. There are journalists galore, esteemed editors of newspapers, some of whom write their own articles. Outside of the emerald isle there are a bunch of diasporic Sri Lankans like the Ondaatjes, Shyam Selvadurai and Karen Roberts who churn out world class books to a worldwide audience. There are creatives galore, just ask any Sri Lankan tattoo parlour.

But within Sri Lanka I don't think there are any professional authors.


Any suggestions or theories on this one will be welcome.


Ahamed Nizar said...

ive always had a problem with sri lankan authors. they mainly write about Sri Lanka. this is not only in Sri lanka but in India as well. but the indians get some booker prizes i get it you love your country but you really dont need to express the magic of lanka on paper.
the world isnt interested in books about some small island in the indian ocean. some are. but the majority just want to read something different. Carl Muller is an amazing writer but he again writes about Sri Lanka.
im still waiting for a lankan author to write a book that reaches the best seller list.

oh and RD if you want a laugh look up Lishan Perera a child author from CIS who writes about love and murder.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ahamed - The thing I love most about so many Sri Lankan authors is actually the very fact that they do write about Sri Lanka. It's part of the magic for me, to read about Lanka and learn about it. However I appreciate your point that many people may not want to read about a small island that they can't relate to.

I do think that Michael Ondaatje and Sir Arthur C would class as Sri Lankans who have reached the best seller list, though many might argue about their "Sri Lankanness"

FINroD said...

Sir Arthur C was a lankan??? :O :O :O

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Finrod - Well, I know he wasn't by birth but I'm pretty sure he was Lankan on paper, in terms of officail nationality. I might be wrong though!