With effects rippling into the present, the Sri Lankan Civil War, lasting more than 25 years from the early 1980s until 2009, has found an important place in our current cultural canon. Join lawyer and novelist of Song of the Sun God, Shankari Chandran, author of Booker Prize–winning The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka, Western Sydney composer and The Jungle and the Sea and Counting and Cracking playwright S. Shakthidharan as they discuss the island nation’s turbulent recent history and its influence in their storytelling. In conversation with prize-winning author Roanna Gonsalves.
Shehan Karunatilaka (International)
Shehan Karunatilaka is the winner of the 2022 Booker Prize for his second novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. He is also the author of the award-winning Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, which was selected for the UK's 2022 Big Jubilee Read selection. Born in Sri Lanka, he studied in New Zealand and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam and Singapore. He lives in Colombo with his family, his guitars and his unfinished stories.
S. Shakthidharan (Australian)
S. Shakthidharan Shakthi is a Western Sydney storyteller with Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. His debut play, Counting and Cracking, completed a sold out season at the 2019 Sydney Festival and won seven Helpmann Awards, with Belvoir. His most recent play The Jungle and the Sea again with Belvoir received rave reviews and had a profound impact on the Sri Lankan community. It won four Sydney Theatre Awards in January 2023, including Best Mainstage Production.
Shankari Chandran (Australian)
Shankari Chandran is an Australian Tamil lawyer and the author of Song of the Sun God (2022), Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens (2022) and The Barrier (2017). Song of the Sun God was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award and short-listed for Sri Lanka's Fairway National Literary Award. Her short stories have been published in the Sweatshop anthologies, Another Australia and Sweatshop Women (Vol 2). Shankari is the deputy chair of Writing NSW.
Roanna Gonsalves (Australian)
Roanna Gonsalves is the award-winning author of The Permanent Resident. Her series of radio documentaries, On the tip of a billion tongues, commissioned and broadcast by Earshot, ABC RN, is an acerbic socio-political portrayal of contemporary India through its multilingual writers. She received The Bridge Awards' inaugural Varuna – Cove Park Writing Residency 2019 (Scotland). She works as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at UNSW, Sydney.