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Amarasekera Prathyavalokana (Amarasekera in retrospect)

The year from November 2008 to November 2009 was declared by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs as the Year of Amarasekera in Retrospect (Amarasekera Prathyavalokana Wasara) on the occasion of the writer turning eighty. The Amarasekera Prathyavalokana Committee lined up a series of events during this period, dedicated to a retrospective assessment of the contribution in diverse fields such as poetry, short stories, novels and criticism by Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera. He is today’s foremost literary figure who, in addition, sought to enlighten us in recent times as an intellectual and a public figure at a time when our very survival as an independent country was threatened.

The inaugural event under this programme, An Assessment of Amarasekera as a Short Story Writer took place on December 09, 2008 at the BMICH and a re-launch of poetry books and retrospective assessment of his poetry took place on April 01, 2009 at the University of Peradeniya. The launch of Amarasekera’s latest novel Atharamaga and an assessment of him as a novelist took place on September 26, 2009 at the Colombo International Book Fair at BMICH. In addition, his critical theories on the evaluation of the novel were discussed on January 04, 2009 at the Punchi Theatre. An evening of poetry reading (Kaviya Samaga Sendewak) was held on June 16, 2009 at the same venue. A seminar titled Amarasekera Prathyavalokana was held at the Ratnapura Town Hall by the Ratnapura Rasika Sabhawa on July 06, 2009.

On October 25, 2009 Amarasekera Harasara was held at Yatalamatte Primary School where Amarasekera was born and was followed by a discussion that evening at Koggala at the Martin Wickremasinghe Folk Museum where Amarasekera’ s works and the contribution he has made was discussed. On October 26, 2009, a seminar was held in the morning at Royal College, Nagoda titled Amarasekera Ha Ape Jeewitha (Amarasekera and our lives). That evening there was a public meeting titled Nijabima Avarjana at the Galle Town Hall.

The following reputed academics have enriched these events over the year - Prof. K.N.O. Dharmadasa (Amarasekera’s place in Sinhala Literature), Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama (Amarasekera’s mark/signature on the Sinhala Short Story), Prof. Wimal Dissanayake (Three stages of criticism of the Sinhala Novel), Prof. P. B. Meegaskumbura (Appreciation and Revaluation of Amarasekera’s poetry), well-known poet Parakrama Kodituwakku (The soul of Amarasekera’s poetry), Prof. Tissa Kariyawasam (Amarasekera’s contribution to the Sinhala Novel), Dr. Daya Amarasekera (The story of the Middle Class as seen by Amarasekera), well-known poet Ratna Sri Wijetunga (Amarasekera the Poet), Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya (Gamanaka Mula: Amarasekera’s fictional works) and Senior Lecturer Jayantha Amarasinghe (The poet who went in search of tradition).

Academic sessions will be held at the University of Ruhuna on November 21 and 22, 2009 and plans are underway for the concluding event to take place on the December 27, 2009 at the BMICH.

Some of these important speeches delivered by these scholars have been printed and distributed and in addition discussions on these topics would be held in the print and electronic media in the coming months. Further, all Amarasekera’s works have been made available during the past year. They include the following: Short Stories- eight books in all: Rathu Rosa Mala, Jeewana Suvanda, Ekama Kathawa, Ektamen Polowata, Katha Pahak, Gal Pilimaya Saha Bol Pilimaya, Marana Manchakaye Dutu Sihinaya and Vil Thera Maranaya; Poetry books: six books in all, Bhava Geetha, Uyanaka Hinda Liyu Kavi,Amal Biso, Guruluwatha, Avarjana and Asak Da Kava; All novels other than Yali Upannemi: 12 books in all Karumakkarayo, Depa Noladdo, Gandhabba Apadanaya, Asathya Kathavak Ha Premaye Sathya Kathawa, Gamanaka Mula, Gam Dorin Eliyata, Ini Mage Ihalata, Wankagiriyaka, Yali Maga Wetha, Duru Rataka Dukata,Kiriyaka,Gamanaka Meda and Atharamaga; Critical Essays – are now being re-printed: Ganaduru Mediyama Dakinemi Arunalu and Sinhala Kavya Sampradaya are out now.

The Amarasekera Prathyavalokana Committee comprises of Ven Thirikunamale Ananda Anu Nayaka Thero, Prof. Tissa Kariyawasam, Prof. Wimal Dissanayake, Prof. Asoka Amaratunga, Dr. Ranga Wickremasinghe, MP Wimal Weerawansa, Gevindu Cumaratunga, Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Deputy Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

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