Chandrarathna Bandara

Chandrarathna Bandara is a prominent novelist in Sri Lanka who won the National Literary award for his work in 1991. His passion during his earlier work was to investigate the social, cultural and political dimensions of Sri Lanka.

Literary career

He won the National Literary award for his novel Meru in the State Literary Festival in Sri Lanka in 1991. His most discussed work so far Wanasapumala (Hostage City) came out in 1993. It dealt with the complicated issues faced by a politically motivated young man in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka in 1980s. The narrative method of his work can be characterized as a re-creation of the style introduced in the 60’s by such stalwarts as Gunadasa Amarasekara and Siri Gunasinghe.

Wanasapumala won the D. R. Wijewardena Award for the Best novel in 1993. This book has already been translated to English (Hostage City) by Vijitha Fernando and to Tamil (Udayagal Pukkal) by S.Sivagurunathan, under the patronage of “Canada-Sri Lanka Education Foundation”. Vijitha Fernando is one of the most senior translators in Sri Lanka and won the Best Translator National Award for her works in 2004 and 2005 years.

A tele-drama was also made in Sri Lanka based on his novel Wiman Dorakoda in the latter part of 1990s and serialized in national television, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. Chandrarathna Bandara is also an acclaimed Short story writer and Poet, known for his unorthodox style in the latter.

His 5th novel “Walakulu Bamma” (Wall of Clouds), published by Sarasavi Publishers – Sri Lanka, was launched in Toronto on 3 April 2016. Key Talk was delivered by Dr. Jayalath Manorathne. HandaDooraya is Chandrarathne Bandara’s fourth work of fiction revolving around the caste problem. The novel portrays the life struggle of a generation of artisans hailing from the upcountry untouchable caste. Published by Pinidiya Publications, the novel was unveiled in 1996.

After a gap of about a decade he wrote WalakuluBemma (The Wall of Clouds) in 2015. Based on Sri Lanka and Canada his fifth book became a best-selling novel in recent years and was shortlisted for the prestigious annual literary award Swarna Pushthaka.

His latest work of fiction, Premanishansa, is scheduled to be released in 2021. This novel revolves around a love saga of two families hailing from aristocratic backgrounds in the north and south of Sri Lanka. Caught up in the tumultuous changes in the Facebook age, Premanishansa portrays the uphill struggle of the two families destined to climb to the top of the social hierarchy and how their rivalry affects society.

Short stories: Bandara’s first collection of short stories titled Kanimadala Ginigathda was published in 1990. Tempered in the neo realist tradition, the collection featuring Ee Apoorwa Woo Sanskruthika Geethaya, Puwathpath Kalawediyekuge Maranaya, Bangoorayo, Golgothawe Awanaduwa, Theweni Handa, Kanimadala Ginigathda, Aroopachchara Puthraya and Sansarika Geethaya, the controversial collection received critical acclaim, and he was described as an emerging young voice. Prabha Prakashana published the book that contained an introduction by Professor KulathilakaKumarasinghe.

Sthupaya Binda wateema followed in 1994, containing eight acclaimed short stories.

His third collection of short stories was LendoraPupunaPremaya, published in 2007 after the writer migrated to Canada in 2004, based on his life-changing experiences both in his adopted country and Sri Lanka. The collection contained eight short stories titled Lendora Pipuna Premaya, Gama Madin Gamanak, Me Mage Rusiyawayi, Nagarajini, Saradiyalge Anthima Dawas, Upasaka Mahaththaya, Wanaspathi and Digeli Kala Kaviya.

  • Undercurrent is the English translation of Lendora Pipuna Premaya done by Vijitha Fernando. In 2008 the English version of the collection was listed as one of the best four translations of 2008 at the Sri Lankan Literary Awards Festival.

His next short story collection, Ee Langata Thanagath Lokaya was unveiled in 2017 containing six critically-acclaimed stories titled Ee Langata Thanagath Lokaya, Sanka Kalapaya, Kal Akal Wahi walataThemunu Thun Denek, Sudu Sivura, 457 Union Place, Bawaduka – Bawasepa and Mahagiri Dambe.

  • Poetry Chandrarathne started his literary career as a poet by writing poems to provincial and national newspapers and magazines. In 1982 he got together with Choolabhaya Shantha Kumara, Kapila M. Gamage and Sirisumana Krishnarathne and published a collection of poetry titled Asikkithayage Sihinaya.
  • In 1993 Bandara unveiled his own collection of poetry titled Murtha Ranganaya (Dance of Death), earning critical praise. It was published by PinidiyaPrakashkayo.
  • Salitha (1990) is a leaflet containing his poetry, reviving a disappearing literary tool that was popular a few decades ago.
  • Dumbara Lathoniya (1993) is a collection of narrative poems described as the laments of the people displaced by the massive Mahaveli River Development Project- Sri Lanka in the 70s. The poems earned rave reviews from critics.
  • Keta Kirilli (2007) is his first collection of poetry after migrating to Canada, containing his personal experiences in his native land and the adopted country. It was published by Godage Brothers.
  • Pinkampola (2017) is a collection that treads new paths in poetry. The poems attempt to break life into particles trying to interpret the personal experiences in a convincing manner. The book was published by Santhawa Prakashakayo.
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