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Gratiaen Prize 2015 Ė Judging Panel


Capt. Elmo Jayawardena - Chairperson

Capt. Elmo, as he is fondly known, won the State Literary award for The Last Kingdom of Sinhalay and the Gratiaen Prize for Samís Story and was shortlisted for the Singapore Literary Prize for his short story collection Rainbows in Braille. He has also published two coffee table books, Yana Maga and A Centenary Sky, among other books and numerous articles. He was honoured with the "Sahithya Rathana" award for a lifetime´s contribution to the arts and literature by the Sri Lankan state in 2015.

Elmo is a retired Airline Captain and a flight instructor and currently works for Boeing Co. as a pilot trainer. His passion for the last 20 years has been CandleAid Lanka (, a humanitarian organisation he founded in 1995. There are currently more than 1000 volunteers working in CandleAid across the world. CandleAid is based in his home town of Moratuwa, where he continues to live when taking a break from training pilots. An enthusiastic sportsman, Elmo runs regularly, canoes long distances and plays tennis and regular games of basketball. He has been featured in the Readers Digest as an everyday hero and in Forbes Global for his humanitarian work.

Tracy Holsinger

Tracy Holsinger is the Artistic Director of the Mind Adventures theatre company, and has gained graduate and postgraduate qualifications in drama and theatre from Goldsmiths College and Trinity Guildhall (UK). A director, actor and writer, Tracy is a visiting lecturer for theatre at the Open University of Colombo and has served as external examiner for Colombo University's department of English. She enjoys working as editor and advisor to several Sri Lankan novelists, poets and playwrights, and has over 15 years of experience teaching Drama and Literature at The Wendy Whatmore Academy of Speech and Drama, Ladies' College and The British School in Colombo. Her writings for theatre include The Travelling Circus, Rondo and Legend of The Amazon: The Secret of Wonder Woman. In addition to sustaining Mind Adventures as a full time venture, Tracy also hosts the weekday morning show on TNL Radio.

Dinali Devendra

Dinali Devendra is a senior lecturer in the Department of Language Studies at the Open University of Sri Lanka. She graduated from the University of Sydney with an Honours degree in English, and obtained an MA in English from the University of Colombo. She completed a PhD at the University of Ulster (UK). Her research interests are related to pedagogical issues in teaching literature in second language contexts. She also teaches at the Postgraduate Institute of English and supervises research students. Dinali was former head of department at the department of Language Studies, Open University of Sri Lanka.

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