Fairway Holdings is the title sponsor of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, which was revived in 2016 after an interval with its events spread over three weeks not only in Galle but also in Kandy and Jaffna. The Fairway National Literary Award was created to reward novelists of all three languages: Sinhala, Tamil and English in Sri Lanka. It aims not only to acknowledge the efforts of outstanding writers, but also to inspire and encourage upcoming local writers as well.
An independent panel of jurors selects the winners of the award every year. In its inaugural year, a total of 89 submissions were received: 69 in Sinhala, 5 in Tamil and 16 in English. Winners were selected according to the criteria developed by the expert panel of jurors: Lal Medawattegedara, Tissa Jayatilaka, Shyamalee Tudawe, Harshana Rambukwella, Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardena, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, Prof. Nuhuman, Saminathan Wimal and Dr. Suren Raghavan.
Four Sinhala novels and five English novels published in Sri Lanka were shortlisted for the award last year. The winner of each category was rewarded with a cash prize of Rupees Five hundred thousand and each nominee received a cash prize of Rupees One hundred thousand.
Nominees in 2016 for the Sinhala language category were Rankaranduwa by Batuwangala Rahula, Maha Sami by Sepali Mayadunne, Mey Rahas Kauluwen Ebenna by Kaushalya Kumarasinghe and Raja Saha Ghathakaya by Visakesa Chandrasekaram. Shortlist for the English language category was, Strange Fruit by Afdhel Aziz, It’s not in the Stars by Rizwana Morseth De Alwis, Rails Run Parallel by Ayathurai Santhan, The King and the Assasin by Visakesa Chandrasekaram and Sinhala only by Manuka Wijesinghe. The jury of the Tamil language category unanimously decided to withhold the award as none of the submissions fulfilled the selection criteria.
Maha Sami by Sepali Mayadunnage was announced the winner of the first Fairway National Literary Award in the Sinhala language category. Rizwana Morseth De Alwis’ novel It’s not in the Stars and Ayathurai Santhan’s novel Rails Run Parallel were selected as the joint winners in the English language category at the award ceremony held on the 15th of January 2016 during the Fairway Galle Literary Festival. In addition, “Fairway Literary Encouragement Award” was presented to 15 year old Sajani Jayathma Senanayake for her novel The Peral of Truth.