The course Global Literature: Modern Writings from Women of the Non-Western World was one of the most important college classes I’ve ever taken as a writer. Dr. Jo Dulan at Salem College taught this literature course. It allowed me the ability to break out of US literature and explore books on a more global scale from the vital perspective of a woman writer.
In appreciation of this experience, I have researched a few authors from various countries, provinces, regions, etc. outside of the USA that have translated works available in English; many of the writers have works available in their native tongues and other languages as well. This series is merely a tool to introduce you to a large amount of important writers.
I do not propose that the written works or the writers that I feature are the most important, the most popular, or are able to speak for an entire identity or culture. Rather, I am hoping to simply give suggestions to create interest in global literature. It is important to recognize writers — especially women, who are often underrepresented — from all parts of the world.
Keep an open mind as you read. Sometimes things are lost in translation, and sometimes a subject may take more research to understand.

This post will cover a few authors from Sri Lanka. Please feel free to suggest additional authors in the comments.

Punyakante Wijenaike

Punyakante Wijenaike
Punyakante Wijenaike/Source: The Island Online

Punyakante Wijenaike was born in Colombo. She writes novels, novellas, short stories, and poems.

Try this: Coming to Terms by Punyakante Wijenaike

Overview of Coming to Terms via The Island:

Coming to Terms, the latest book containing a novella, short stories and poems by the celebrated author Punyakante Wijenaike…

Coming to Terms is a story about two childhood friends who came from different backgrounds. The boy is from the mahagedara with an aristocratic background, waited hand and foot by servants, while the girl is from the gurugedara, the daughter of a school teacher. The woman must make a vital decision. To live in one’s own country despite all problems or escape and fly abroad and try to fit into a life one was not born into. The story explores the theme that happiness depends on what one is seeking from life.

Learn more about Punyakante Wijenaike.

Thisuri Wanniarachchi

Thisuri Wanniarachchi
Thisuri Wanniarachchi/Source: The Sunday Times

Thisuri Wanniarachchi was born in Colombo in 1993. She published her first novel at the age of 14.

Try thisColombo Streets by Thisuri Wanniarachchi

Overview of Colombo Streets via Vijitha Yapa:

Sarah is sixteen, born to a rich and famous family in Sri Lanka. She is a good swimmer and works very hard… to reach her dream: to be a world top ranked swimmer. Indeevari, Sarah’s adopted sister, has a nightmare of a past. She is from a ‘war affected area in the north of Sri Lanka.’

Learn more about Thisuri Wanniarachchi.

Roma Tearne

Roma Tearne
Roma Tearne/Source

Roma Tearne was born in 1954 to a Tamil father and a Sinhalese mother. Along with being a writer, she is also an artist.

Try this: Mosquito by Roma Tearne

Overview of Mosquito via

Set adrift by the recent death of his wife, Theo Samarajeeva abandons his comfortable writer’s life in London and returns to Sri Lanka, his war- torn homeland. There he meets Nulani, a talented and enigmatic young artist. An unorthodox and tenuous love blossoms between this unlikely pair. Nulani finally feels love, and Theo sees hope in his future. But when the insurgency explodes, their precarious world is torn apart. Theo is held captive and stripped of everything he once held dear. Nulani is forced into exile. As the years pass, and the poison of war spreads across this paradise, will their love be lost forever? By turns heartbreaking and uplifting, Mosquito is a first novel of remarkable beauty and compelling power.

Learn more about Roma Tearne.

One Reply to “Women Writers Series: A Few Authors of Sri Lanka”

Leave a Reply