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Celebrating 22 years of recognizing and awarding the best work in English by resident Sri Lankan writers, the Gratiaen Prize, awarded in affiliation with Standard Chartered Bank Sri Lanka, opened awards season with the shortlist announcement which was held on May 11 at the British Council, Colombo. The winner will be announced on June12 at the main prize event to be held at Park Street Mews, Colombo.

The four works of literature selected by the judges, in alphabetical order, are:

1. Sandali Ash- Rao’s Guide to Lime Pickling (Novella/manuscript)
2. Quintus G Fernando- Celibacy Factor (Novel/published)
3. Vihanga Perera- Love and Protest (Poetry/published)
4. Santhan Ayathurai- Rails Run Parallel (Novel/unpublished)

The judges explained that in the judging process, they looked for the overall quality and depth of the submissions and looked at the writers’ ability to sustain and creatively manipulate their chosen genres. The judges for the 2014 Gratiaen Prize are: Sonali Deraniyagala (Chair), internationally acclaimed for the memoir Wave and holds a PhD in Economics from Oxford University; Dinali Fernando, a well-known language and literature scholar and Senior Lecturer at the Department of English, Kelaniya University and Jehan Aloysius, an accomplished theater professional with many years of experience in acting, directing and writing. For further information on the judges and past winners with extracts of their work, see www.gratiaen.com.

The British Council has hosted the shortlist announcement from the inception of the prize, and yesterday also marked another milestone in this longstanding relationship with the opening of the ‘Gratiaen Prize Collection’ at the British Council library by the Council’s South Asia, Regional Director, Stephen Roman.