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2016 HAI Goonetileke Prize

 
 
 
 
   
 
 

K.N.O. Dharmadasa - Chairperson

K.N.O. Dharmadasa (chair of the panel) is an eminent academic, sociolinguist, literary historian and literary commentator. Considered a pioneer in the introduction of sociolinguistics to the study of the Sinhala language his work in this area laid the foundations for establishing sociolinguistics as an academic discipline in Sinhala departments in Sri Lanka. Dharmadasa's monograph Language, Religion and Ethnic Assertiveness: The Growth of Sinhala Nationalism in Sri Lanka (1992) published by the University of Michigan Press is considered a landmark study of both the sociolinguistics of the Sinhala language and its modernization and of linguistic nationalism in Sri Lanka. Dharmadasa had a distinguished career as an academic at the University of Peradeniya where he is Professor Emeritus of Sinhala. He also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and has held a number of distinguished visiting fellowships in international universities.
In addition to being an academic Dharmadasa is recognized as one of the preeminent cultural commentators in the country and has served on many arts and literary juries and has headed the National Sub-Committee for Literature. He is also the current editor of the Sinhala encyclopaedia and is a regular contributor to a range of publications on arts and culture. Dharmadasa is also a well known Sinhala lyricist and has written extensively on Sinhala poetry and song culture.

Kumudu Kusum Kumara

Kumudu Kusum Kumara began his career as a journalist when he co-founded publications like Sameepa Rupa a journal on cinema, and later Mawatha, a progressive journal on arts, literature and culture. He went on to study languages and sociology at the University of Kelaniya, and became a researcher in the social sciences. He then continued his education at the University of British Columbia, where he received his Masters degree, and completed his PhD at York University, Toronto. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Colombo, where he teaches social theory, and the sociology of the arts, among other subjects. He is also a co-founder of the Sinhala web journal Kathika, a collection of socio-cultural and political critique, and his writing in English and Sinhala, is published in print and online media.

Madhubhashini Disanayaka Ratnayake

Madhubhashini Disanayaka Ratnayake is the former Head and a Senior Lecturer in the English Language Teaching Unit of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. She received her first degree from the University of Allahabad, India, in English, Philosophy and Music and her Masters degree from New York University, USA, in English with a special focus on Creative Writing.
She won the Gratiaen Prize in 2011 for her novel ‘There is Something I Have to Tell You’, having been shortlisted for it twice for her short story collections. She has also written books for learners of English as a Second Language, the newest being a five-book set of trilingual readers for children.
She has been editing a monthly creative writing page named ‘100 Words’ for the Sunday Times newspaper since 1997, and also a more recent ‘Flash Fiction’ page. Twice a month, she creates a page that teaches grammar through literature in the same newspaper. She was awarded the title of ‘Kala Keerthi’ by the President of Sri Lanka at the National Awards ceremony in 2017.

   
   
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