The Fairway National Literary Award was initiated to compliment the sponsorship and activities of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival. It is the only award in the country that includes and rewards novelist of all three languages:Sinhala, Tamil and English. It aims not only to applaud the efforts of writers, but also to inspire and encourage upcoming novelists. In this inaugural year of the award, four Sinhala novels and five English novels were shortlisted for the award. These entries were rewarded with a cash award of Rupees Hundred Thousand each and stood a chance to earn a reward of Rupees Five Hundred Thousand if selected as the winner of one of the three language categories. With each of the shortlisted authors being offered a cash reward of Rupees 100,000 and the winners Rupees 500,000 each, this award offers a total of Rupees 3 Million just in cash awards. The winners were selected based on a set of criteria developed by the judges in each of the categories. A total of 89 novels were submitted for the award, 69 Sinhala,5 Tamil novels and 16 English.
Sepali Mayadunne’s novel, “Maha Sami” was announced the winner of the first ever Fairway National Literary Award in the Sinhala Category and Rizwina Morseth De Alwis’ novel,“It’s not in the stars” and Ayathurai Santhan’s novel, “Rails run Parallel”, were announced the winners in the English category at an award ceremony, held on the 15th of January 2016 during the Fairway Galle Literary Festival. Fairway Holdings is also the title sponsor of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, which is being held after a lapse of time in a grander style, with events spread over three weeks and covering not only Galle but also Kandy and Jaffna this year.
The shortlisted contenders for the award this year for the Sinhala category were, Batuwangala Rahula’s “Rankaranduwa”, Sepali Mayadunne’s “Maha Sami”, Kaushalya Kumarasinghe’s“Mey Rahas Kauluwen Ebenna” and Visakesa Chandrasekaram’s “Raja Saha Ghathakaya”. The shortlist for the English category were as follows, Afdhel Aziz’s “Strange Fruit”, Rizvina Morseth de Alwis’ “It’s Not in the Stars”, Visakesa Chandrasekaram’s“The King and the Assassin” and Manuka Wijesinghe’s“Sinhala Only”. As per a unanimous decision by the Tamil panel of judges, none of the Tamil submissions met the criteria to be shortlisted; hence there was no shortlist or winner in the Tamil category this year.The independent panels of judges involved in the selection process included Shyamalee Tudawe, Lal Medawattegedara, Tissa Jayatilaka, Harshana Rambukwella, Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardena, Dr.Nirmal Devasiri, Saminathan Wimal, Prof. M.A. Nuhman and Dr.Suren Raghavan.
In addition to the winners of the language categories of the Fairway National Literary Awards, “Fairway Literary Encouragement Award”was awarded to 15 year old Sajani Jayathma Senanayake for her book ‘The Pearl of Truth’.