Judge Panel - 2016 Literary Award

Sinhala Language Panel

Dr. Dharmasena Pathiraja

Dr. Dharmasena Pathiraja began making films in the late 60’s. His first film ‘Ahas Gawwa’ bagged all the prestigious awards at film festivals in 1974. He is known for his other award winning films ‘Bambaru Avith, Para Dige, Soldadu Unnehe and Mathu Yam Davasa and a number of tele features and documentaries. He was a lecturer in Modern Literature and Drama from 1968-1922. In 1977 while teaching at the Jaffna Campus of University of Sri Lanka he made a path breaking Tamil film Ponmani. He holds a PhD in Cinema Studies from University of Monash, Australia. He is currently serving as the Chairman of the Board at Sri Lanka Media Training Institute.

Piyaseeli Wijemanna

Piyaseeli Wijemanna was a Senior Professor of the Department of Sinhala at the University of Peradeniya. She retired in 2007, but continues to serve as a visiting lecturer. She has over fifty academic papers to her credit, and is the author of three novels, ten storybooks for children and two translations. She has been awarded the State Literary Award for the best short story collection, on three occasions. During the last 30 years, she has worked as a member of many evaluation boards for literary awards.

Krishantha Fedricks

Krishantha Fedricks is a senior lecturer in Sinhala language and Linguistics at the University of Colombo. He obtained his BA in Sinhala language and literature with first class honors from the University of Colombo and MA in Linguistics from the University of Kelaniya. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2010 and he obtained an MA in Linguistics with honors from California State University at Long Beach. Mr. Fedricks is currently reading for his PhD in Linguistic Anthropology at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Texas at Austin in the United States. He has served on several evaluation panels as a judge. Fedricks is also a translator and a columnist.

English Language Panel

Tissa Devendra

Graduated in English and French from the University of Ceylon in the Ludowyk era and a Post Graduate Degree from Cambridge University. He played an active role in the Dramatic Society. He served as a government administrative officer over half the districts in Sri Lanka for over 30 years and thereafter as the Chairman of Public Service Commission and Salaries Commission . Mr. Devendra began writing after retirement on his experiences in the provinces, culture, history and folk tales. His published works are Tales from the Provinces, Quest for Shangri La, Fiery Finale, Princes Peasants & Clever Beasts. He chaired the Panel of Judges for the Grataien Prize 2013.

Dr. Vivimarie Vander Poorten

Dr. Vivimarie Vander Poorten has a BA in English from the University of Kelaniya, an MA in Applied Linguistics and PhD in Sociolinguistics from the University of Ulster in UK. She is currently the Head of the Department of Language Studies and a Senior Lecturer in English at the Open University of Sri Lanka, where she teaches literature, language and linguistics.

Dr. Vander Poorten is also a published poet, and her first book nothing prepares you won the prestigious Gratiaen Prize for 2007. Her Stitch your Eyelids Shut was a co-winner of the State Literary Award, 2011. She served on the panel of judges for the 2006 Gratiaen Prize.

Nayomi Munaweera’s

Nayomi Munaweera’s debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors was long-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize and the Dublin IMPAC Prize. It was short-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the Northern California Book Prize. It won the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia in 2013. Munaweera’s second novel, What Lies Between Us was released recently. Her non-fiction and short fiction are also widely published on an international stage.

Tamil Language Panel 

Sitralega Maunaguru

Sitralega Maunaguru is a retired Professor from the Eastern University Sri Lanka. Her teaching career spread over 30 years both at the University of Jaffna and at the Eastern University. She has been teaching Tamil literature and literary criticism at both universities. Prof. Maunaguru edited the 1st collection of women’s poetry in Tamil in Sri Lanka in 1986 Sollathe Sethikal – Messages Unspoken and another four publications including a collection on women’s love poems. Her work on Women’s poetry is path breaking and her work encouraged many young women writing in Tamil to develop themselves as creative writers.

S. Pathmanathan

S. Pathmanathan (popularly known as Sopa) was an English Lecturer at Palaly Teachers’ College where he later became the Principal of the college. He writes poetry in Tamil. He has published three collections of his own poetry and three collections of translations. He has translated three plays of Dr. Shanmugalingam, the reputed Tamil playwright. Sopa’s Burmese monk’s Tales won great acclaim including several National and Provincial literary awards. His retired life is spent in the cause of children affected by war.

M. A. Mohamed Rameez

M. A. Mohamed Rameez is a Professor in Tamil at South Eastern University of
Sri Lanka. He is the Head of the Department of Languages. His research focuses on Modern Literature, Folk Literature, Sri Lankan Ethnic Studies and Social Harmony. He holds Ph.D. in Mass Communication.

2017 Fairway Literary Award.