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Gratiaen Trust - Panel of Judges 2009


Vijita Fernando

Vijita Fernando’s creative writing in English has been published locally, in Asian and regional collections, and in two collections of short stories by the Oxford University Press (2007). Two short stories were broadcast on the BBC World Service and in the Latin American Service of the BBC in Spanish translation.

She is a freelance journalist and is correspondent to the international service, The Women’s Feature Service based in New York and New Delhi. In addition, she is a member of the Press Complaints Commission’s Dispute Resolution Council.

Vijita Fernando won the 2002 Gratiaen Prize for her translation of Out of the Darkness by Gunadasa Amarasekara and the 2005 Ian Goonetileke Prize for Translations for The Chameleon by Sunethra Rajakarunanayake. She has also won four state literary awards, the President's Excellence in Journalism Award in 2000 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism in 2007.

Asoka de Zoysa

Although born in Colombo, Dr Asoka de Zoysa lived in Germany from 1983 to 1997 where he completed his Master’s Degree in Indology (Sanskrit and Art History of India) and Germanistics (Medieval and Modern German Literature) at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Since his return to Sri Lanka in 1997, he has been attached to the faculty of the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Kelaniya, where he is Senior Lecturer in German Studies. He is also visiting lecturer at the University of Visual and Performing Arts where he teaches Theory of Art History, and a member of the teaching faculty at the Academy of Design Colombo, responsible for teaching units related to Fashion History and History of Commercial Art.

He writes reviews on contemporary Sri Lankan art and has also translated many German plays to Sinhala, which he has directed.

Rohan Ponniah

Rohan Ponniah served as Senior Officer with the Geneva-based Technical Support Facility of the Summit Level Group of Developing Countries or Group of Fifteen. He also served as Economist/Special Assistant to the Secretary-General of the South Commission and was a member of the team of the South Commission Secretariat based in Geneva.

He currently serves as Chairman, The Wrap Factory (Pvt) Ltd. and Wrap Productions (Pvt) Ltd., both television production houses specialising in the production of high-end television commercials, documentaries and programmes.

Creatively, however, Rohan Ponniah is best-known for his contribution to English theatre in Sri Lanka over a period of 40 years, most recently for his role of the psychiatrist Dr Martin Dysart in Peter Shaffer’s Equus staged in 2007.

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