Sunday, June 16, 2024

‘Father Cabraal’s Recipe for Love Cake’, winner of the 31st Gratiaen Prize

by damith
June 9, 2024 1:03 am 0 comment 507 views

From left: Nisreen Jafferjee (Co-Chair Gratiaen Trust), Dr. Anthony Joseph (31st Gratiaen Prize Chair of the Jury), Angeline Ondaatjie (31st Gratiaen Prize Jury), Lal Medawattegedara (31st Gratiaen Prize Shortlist Contestant), Selvi Sachithanandam (31st Gratiaen Prize Shortlist Contestant), Ramya Jirasinghe (31st Gratiaen Prize Winner), Pasan Jayasinghe (31st Gratiaen Prize Shortlist Contestant), Vihanga Perera (31st Gratiaen Prize Shortlist Contestant), Nadija Tambiah (President, Executive VP, Head-Legal & Secretarial at John Keells), Orlando Edwards (Country Director British Council Sri Lanka), Nafeesa Amiruddeen (Co-Chair Gratiaen Trust)

The Gratiaen Trust, in association with John Keells Foundation and with the support of the British Council, announced Ramya Jirasinghe for her captivating book titled Father Cabraal’s Recipe for Love Cake the winner of the 31st Gratiaen Prize. The award ceremony was held at the Stables, Park Street Mews, the official venue partner for the event.

Father Cabraal’s Recipe for Love Cake by Ramya Jirasinghe was selected from five incredibly powerful shortlisted works. In alphabetical order, A Passing Return by Pasan Jayasinghe (Travelogue – Unpublished); Gnanam by Selvi Sachithanandam (Biography – Published); Students and Rebels by Vihanga Perera (Novel – Published) and When Ghosts Die by Lal Medawattegedara (Novel – Unpublished).

The jury described Father Cabraal’s Recipe for Love Cake as an evocative, moving story of Katharina, and her passion for love cake and her home. Ramya Jirasinghe’s ambitious, tightly structured and perceptive novel traces intriguing layers of Sri Lankan history, especially the role of African traders. Notable for its attention to sensory detail, Father Cabraal’s Recipe for Love Cake explores ideas of home, belonging and place.

In a joint statement, Co-chairs of the Gratiaen Trust, Nafeesa Amiruddeen and Nisreen Jafferjee stated, “We are delighted that Ramya’s book was selected as the winner of the 31st Gratiaen Prize. This year we were pleased to note the wide gamut of genres and creative writing styles that were submitted. It is reflective of the growing confidence of Sri Lankan storytelling. Sri Lankan writers today have more opportunities to hone their craft with access to workshops and literary events such as the masterclass to be conducted by the Chair of our jury, Dr. Anthony Joseph who is visiting Sri Lanka to attend the award event.”

The Gratiaen Trust also announced a master class to be conducted at the British Council Library by Dr. Anthony Joseph titled Approaches to Form. The masterclass is supported by British Council Sri Lanka and will explore the structure of words and sentences and their poetic interplay that build beautiful stories. This event is a testament to the Trust’s enduring commitment to literary excellence.

The jury for the 31st Gratiaen Prize includes Dr. Anthony Joseph F.R.S.L., a T.S. Eliot award-winning poet, novelist, a professor at Kings College, and a musician. Joining him in the judging process were Dr. Ruvani Ranasinha, a professor specialising in postcolonial literature at King’s College London; and Angeline Ondaatjie, a renowned hotelier and academic with a background in chemical engineering and literature. The judging panel reflected the Gratiaen Prize’s longstanding tradition of representing three perspectives within the judging process that comprised a creative writer, an academic and an informed general reader.

The Gratiaen Trust’s primary sponsor since October 2019 is John Keells Foundation (JKF) – the CSR entity of the John Keells Group. This partnership aligns with JKF’s vision of Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow. The British Council’s sponsorship of the visit of Dr. Anthony Joseph, and several workshops and masterclasses is part of the Creative Literature series organised together with the Trust to mark the 75th anniversary of UK-Sri Lanka Diplomatic ties. The Trust acknowledges the invaluable support of its other partners: Park Street Mews, Wijeya Newspapers and Marga Institute.

Founded by Michael Ondaatje in 1992, the Gratiaen Prize is awarded annually to the best work of creative writing in English by a Sri Lankan author resident in Sri Lanka. The prize aims to encourage and recognise literary talent in Sri Lanka, fostering a rich and diverse literary culture.

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