About Us

The Gratiaen Trust

The Gratiaen Trust was founded in 1993 by Michael Ondaatje, the internationally renowned novelist, poet and essayist of Sri Lankan origin. It was funded with the prize money Ondaatje obtained when his novel The English Patient co-won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1992. Named after Ondaatje’s maternal family, the mandate of the Gratiaen Trust is to promote and recognize creative writing in English by Sri Lankan authors who are resident in Sri Lanka, promote and recognize translations into English of Sinhala and Tamil language creative writing by Sri Lankan authors resident in Sri Lanka, publish translations between Sinhala and Tamil language writing to foster cross-ethnic relations within Sri Lanka, and advance the international recognition of Sri Lankan creative writing.


Towards these objectives the Gratiaen Trust sponsors the annual Gratiaen Award which recognizes the best, submitted creative work in English; and the
H.A.I. Goonetilleke Prize (named after the legendary librarian of the University of Peradeniya and close friend of Michael Ondaatje) which recognizes the best submitted translation into English from Sinhala or Tamil. Both Awards have become a hallmark of the Sri Lankan literary calendar, eagerly anticipated by Sri Lankan writers, publishers, academics, students, and general readers both in Sri Lanka and overseas.

Supporting writers in the development of their writing, enhancing the quality of creative writing in Sri Lanka, and fostering public engagement with creative writing remain important areas of work for the Trust. Towards this the Trust sponsors workshops for writers and panel events on literature/creative writing/publishing/literary judging.

legacy of 0years Encouraging English writing in sri lanka

Rules 2018

Download the Rules for Gratiaen Prize & HAI Goonathilake Prize

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Entry Form 2018

Download the Entry Form Gratiaen Prize & HAI Goonathilake Prize

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Trustees of The Gratiaen Trust

Michael Ondaatj

received his BA from the University of Toronto and MA from Queens University, Ontario. He taught at the University of Western Ontario, York University and Glendon College

Ranmali Mirchandani

Arts Practitioner and Consultant

Nisreen Jafferjee

Arts Consultant

Neloufer de Mel

obtained her Ph.D from the University of Kent at Canterbury, U.K., and is Professor in English at the Dept. of English, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Peter Bluck

is married to Michael Ondaatje's niece, thus he is now 'running in the family'. He is CEO of Actionlanka.com (Pvt) Ltd. Sri Lanka, and Pioneer Adventure Tours Pvt Ltd. India.

Nafeesa K. Amiruddeen

teaches speech & drama and effective communication in English. She is Director of Drama of The Performing Arts Company, and has produced theatre of various genres.

Harshana Rambukwella

is a Senior Lecturer at the Postgraduate Institute of English, The Open University of Sri Lanka and Honorary Assistant Professor at the School of English, University of Hong Kong.

Manjula Sirimane

is a Senior Lecturer at the Postgraduate Institute of English, The Open University of Sri Lanka and Honorary Assistant Professor at the School of English, University of Hong Kong.

Sunila Galappatti

holds a degree in English from Cambridge University. She began her career working in the theatre in the UK, as Assistant Dramaturg to the Royal Shakespeare Company and Literary Associate to Live Theatre, Newcastle

Past Chairpersons

Henry Alfred Ian Goonetileke

Chairperson 1993 - 1996

Godfrey Gunatilleke

Chairperson 1997- 2007

Tissa A. Jayatilaka

Chairperson 2007 - 2009

Senath Walter Perera

Chairperson 2010 -