Writers for Calais Refugees


A Place to Call Home was published last month in Writers for Calais Refugees.

Cities + Secrets


Issue 5 of Cities + is all about secrets. Here is what to expect in the issue.

“We send you on a hunt to find answers written in urban landscapes and whisper (or maybe shout) to you about Rankopolis, the most ‘city’ of all cities. There is a polemic on the parasitic nature of the urban-rural divide. There is a series of conjurations based on Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ (if you don’t think you can see the invisible, think again)(actually always, always think again). And there is a most impressive contributor who literally unearthed the secrets of her garden. That’s not even an exhaustive list. ”

Check out The Old Road on page 58.




Evening of Poetry and Prose

I’m one of the writers featured at the Evening of Poetry and Prose organised by the English Writers Cooperative on October 23rd.

Flash Fiction International

A review of Flash Fiction International at Kitaab. To read it go here.

“Right on the trail of Kafka and coincidentally just a few pages after him, we have the story “Shattered” by Shirani Rajapakse from Sri Lanka. The title hits the reader like the single-worded and sometimes monosyllabic title of a horror movie. Now this is not the case at all in terms of genre but the events described are nothing short of horrifying. The writer speaks about war, like many other Lankan writers do, but Shattered puts a unique spin on the theme.”

Earthen Lamp Journal


Read “Loneliness” published today in Vol III Issue II.

Getting it Write!

The annual creative writing seminar organised by the English Writers’ Cooperative (EWC) Sri Lanka will be held on August 29, 2015 from 9.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. at the auditorium of the Sri Lanka Federation of University Women.
There will be two sessions on poetry and short story followed by a panel discussion in the afternoon.

For more info check it out on Facebook.

Asian Signature

Three poems  “Taken for Granted”, “The Road to Over There” and “Unwanted Visitors”.were published in Asian Signature recently. I had no idea they were published until a few minutes ago when I went looking for something else and found the link to my own poems.


Asian Signature

Flash Fiction International – a review

“As much as I love and admire full-length fiction, these little marvels have had such a salutary effect on me. I highly recommend them for you, too. Take and enjoy. The doses might be small but they are always  bracing!”

Check out the review of Flash Fiction International by Luke Sherwood in Basso Profundo.


Silver Birch Press

“A Wish List” kicks off the “My Perfect Vacation Series” that’s on right now at Silver Birch Press. To read the poem go here.

Rajapakse - travel photo

Somewhere in Ladakh, India.

National Flash Fiction Day at The Write – In

The Editors at The Write -In have created an event for today, June 27, National Flash Fiction Day. Write flash stories based on any of their prompts and if the the stories are interesting they get published. It’s all happening right now. Check out my story Things that Happen in the Night.




Silver Birch Press

“Growing Up in the City” is included in the “ME, AS A CHILD” Poetry Series that’s on through April and May. To read the poem go to Silver Birch Press.

Rajapakse (child)

One hundred rupees for a day of lit

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What can a hundred rupees (approximately 0.75 USD) get you? A bottle of water, a snack, some sweets, maybe a short bus ride to wherever and back? That’s not much really. A hundred rupees certainly won’t get you in through the door of any theatre or movie hall anywhere in the country either. But on Saturday April 25, a hundred rupees opened the doors to a literary festival. And it wasn’t just any literary festival but one that brought together local writers from all communities in Sri Lanka to one single venue for an entire day. Yes, a hundred rupees marked its value well that day.

Anyone interested in books and writing had a whole day to spend at a literary event with an added bonus of a sampling of kadala (chickpea) served in a typical gotta (paper cone) all for a hundred rupees.

The Western Province Aesthetic Resort in Colombo that played host to the event was in many ways an ideal location. Two well air-conditioned halls and one open hall, an open air space and a fairly large area for stalls – books and food and resting places, plus the greenery and water features provided a pleasing setting on a sultry Sri Lankan day.

The Annasi & Kadalagotu Lit Fest created a first in many ways. The thirteen events from a book launch, talks with writers, a documentary, publishers’ clinic and panel discussions were spread out across three halls.  It was the first literature festival in the country that had such a low entrance fee, enabling everyone from all walks of life to participate in every activity with no extra charges. It was also the first time writers from all three languages of the country Sinhala, Tamil and English came together to talk about all things writing.

Adding to the local flavour were the street vendors who’d set up at the entrance selling hot hot kadala, boiled spicy manokka (cassava), annasi (pineapple), corn on the cob and veralu achcharu (pickle). Discussions flowed, ideas were exchanged, friends met, books bought and autographed, food consumed while the coffee ran out even before the start of the first session.

Kudos to the organisers for all the hard work.

(Images curtsey A&K Lit Fest)

Flash Fiction International -W.W.Norton

“The authors of several stories set in war-torn lands, among them Lin Dinh’s “Man Carrying Books” (Vietnam) and Shirani Rajapakse’s “Shattered” (Sri Lanka), use the brevity of the form strategically to suggest the vulnerability of their characters to sudden twists of fate.” Flash Fiction International (W.W.Norton). Read the full review at Publishers Weekly.

Or check out the review at W.W.Norton.




Earthen Lamp Journal

“Dream of the Housemaid” is my contribution to the theme on Migration. To read the other contribution in Vol II Issue III go here.



Catastrophe and Environment

Moving Worlds Volume 14 Number 2 Catastrophe and Environment will be launched during the two-day public conference Reframing Disaster that will be held from 28-29 November 2014 at Leeds.

Reframing Disaster is being held to mark the 30th anniversary of the Bhobal Gas Disaster in India, the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide and the 10th anniversary of the South Asian Tsunami.

The conference will “think through how these and other global disasters have been conceptualised and represented in art, literature, film and the media.”

For more details about the book including a table of contents and purchase information go here.

Turn to page 44 for my poem “Conversations in the Dark.

Catastrophe and Environment


The theme of this issue of Cities + is language. The issue “explores how Cities speak through bodies, books, buildings, cracked images, children’s drawings, grafitti, ground diagram sillouettes, maps, mechanical sounds, musical notes, pictures, poems, scents, sidewalks. Consider this issue as a multi-sensory dictionary, whose entries go far beyond words, and go back to them – or simply start with them.”

Check out “Colombo” on page 50.






Remembering 9/11

Last year New Verse News published “September” a poem I wrote about 9/11. You can read it here.

2014- the Year that Commemorates Global Catastrophes

2014 is a significant year for anniversaries of disasters. While all attention seems to be on the centenary of World War I this year is also significant as it the anniversary of several natural catastrophes that took place around the world. It’s the 30th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Disaster in India, the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, and the 10th anniversary of the South Asian tsunami.

Several events to commemorate the anniversaries of the natural disasters are being held in Leeds, UK in November.

  • “Reframing Disaster” a conference connected to an AHRC-funded research project led by Dr Anthony Carrigan, entitled ‘Representing Postcolonial Disaster’ will be organised in November as part of a week-long series of activities designed to coincide directly with the anniversaries of the Bhopal and South Asian tsunami disasters.
  • It will include an exhibition by world-renowned Indian photographer Raghu Rai (the first photographer to document the Bhopal disaster), to be held at the Tetley Gallery (http://thetetley.org/).
  • Launch of the Tsunami anthology by Moving Worlds.

Those interested in participating in the “Reframing Disaster” or presenting papers go here. Note the last date to submit is September 7. You may query at the site. For details on the project Representing Post Colonial Disaster go here.

Deep Water Literary Journal

I tend to publish more poetry than fiction for whatever reason. This is one of the few instances when I published fiction. Check out my flash story “Night Visitor” in Issue 2, published this month. It’s a dark story, but then that’s what the Deep Water Literary Journal is about – exploring the dark side of life. To read the rest of the journal go here.

Animal Liberation Front.com

Mali, the poem written for the jailed Sri Lankan elephant and posted on my blog in 2012 is included in Animal Liberation Front.com. Let’s hope more people get behind the effort to save Mali, like they did for Sunder.  Go here for the poem or go here to check out the rest of the poems, stories and essays  and other facts relating to animal rights/abuse posted on Animal Liberation Front.com.

Mascara Literary Review

Two poems, “Late Afternoon” and “Games People Play” are included in Mascara Literary Review, Issue 15, May 2014.

The 2013 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards

My poem titled “The Shower”was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. For more details check Poetica Magazine here.


Reminiscence is published today in Kitaab.




She is Spark’s tribute to  women from all walks of life this month. My short poem “Woman of the House” is also included here.

Spark – March 2014 Issue

Ballads – an anthology of new poetry

“Alone One Evening” is my contribution to Ballads, an anthology of new poetry about music. Published by Dagda Publishing you can check it out at Createspace and Amazon.

Ballads is in aid of Scope, a UK based charity for mental health.

Short & Sweet launched

Can you tell a story in 25 words? How do you fit in a beginning, middle and an end, describe characters, themes, set the scene, add dialogue in just 25 words?

The answer – Short & Sweet, Sri Lanka’s first ever anthology of hint fiction.

Short & Sweet includes over 160 little pieces of fiction written by over 90 Sri Lankan writers from all walks of life including some well known names such as Yasmine Gooneratne, Shyam Selvadurai and Ameena Hussein. It is curated by Sanjana Hattotuwa.

Short & Sweet was launched last evening in Colombo.

Happy to have one of my short, short, short stories published here.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAFor more information and orders go to http://www.pererahussein.com


Spark the Magazine

Spark celebrates its fourth birthday this month with a potpourri of writing. “Celebrating Another Birthday” is my contribution.

Spark – January 2014 Fourth Anniversary Issue

Cyclamens and Swords Publishing

Two poems, “Reader on the Shelf” and “Evening” are included in the December 2013 issue. See page 1.


My poem titled “The Capital” is included in “Channels” Volume 19. Channels is an annual publication that features contemporary Sri Lankan Writing and is published by the English Writers’ Cooperative (EWC) Sri Lanka. It’s not available online and I’m posting the poem here.

The Capital


Colombo clicks her heels

tonight as music throbs in hidden

spaces. Lights blink

as they guide the way along lush

avenues, winding, trees

bending in acknowledgement.

The breezes blow cool

and calm across waters cleared,

now winking as the lights reflections

spread out across the lakes, canals

and waterways free to flow

as they wish. Old world charm sprawls

while modernity rises

from the earth. Brick by brick

the future beckons. The city smiles

at the wonders ahead.


The avenue of independence

has lost her soul. Torn

down by the puppets of the people.

A debauched brain ordered the change.

The earth shudders as trees

crash to the ground,

the birds scatter, their nests

lost in the dust of development,

progress, the need to renew.

The dogs rounded up and sent off

to die. Boiled, gassed. That’s their fate.

There’s no place for the likes

of them in this city

brand spanking new. Not for the likes

of canine, avian; the crows

or strays. The beggars

they kill, their heads smashed with rocks

no better than dogs and left to rot

on pavements. The blood stains on

concrete blocks licked up by

scavengers. The city mourns

and wonders what lies ahead.

© 2013 Shirani Rajapakse

All My Poems in One Place except “The Stray”

As of yesterday all my published poems are now collected in one space for easy reference. While the links will continue to be available here on this blog the poems are now all at PoemHunter at just one click.

However one poem “The Stray” which I posted here on the blog on November 25, 2011 was taken off as it included “profanity” – seems they didn’t like the word “bitch.” But what do you call a female dog? Is it profanity to or what? You be the judge. Here’s the poem again.

The Stray

“Why Take her? She’s a

bitch” he



She stared

at him.



“Your mother’s

the same kind,”

she replied and

took the


bitch home.


About Place Journal

Read Hope, a poem published in Volume II Issue III on the theme of “The Future of Water,” November 2013.

The Linnet’s Wings

“On the Way to Over There” a micro story, is featured in the Autumn 2013 Issue. Flip through to page 32.

New Verse News

Read “September” live today at http://newversenews.blogspot.com/2013/09/september.html  Or read it below.

The New Verse News

 Wednesday, September 11, 2013


by Shirani Rajapakse

Remember, you said, that day. People
falling from the sky like stars,
burnt out flares unable to cling on. Fire
in the sky metal crashing above. Remember
how it felt as you looked up at the
heavens, the noise deafened
and the dust from the stars crumbled
into your eyes. Horrorstruck, was this the end?
Remember the smell, flesh, iron roasting
cheap like a giant barbecue in the sky
while all around the grey dust of construction
falling like haze on an early morn.
You screamed but no one
heard amidst the noise of a world gone mad.
You cried in vain for what you
couldn’t hold, then forgot as
the years flashed by and they made plans anew
leaving you out of it. No use to no one
anymore.  Remember how you forgot
it all, buried in your life, the chores, the rush
and swirl of work, the demands
of modernity. Remember how she felt falling,
burning, crying. But do remember
how a madman rose in the sky
one day to steal the future leaving her
with tears and nothing else except a few
burnt out shreds. Remember.
Shirani Rajapakse
is a Sri Lankan poet and author. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013. Her collection of short stories, Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Shirani’s work appears or is forthcoming in Linnet’s Wings, Channels, Spark, Berfrois, Poets Basement, Earthen Lamp Journal, Asian Cha, Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry Review, About Place Journal, Skylight 47, The Smoking Poet, New Verse News, The Occupy Poetry Project and anthologies Poems for Freedom, Voices Israel Poetry Anthology 2012, Song of Sahel, Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, World Healing World Peace and Every Child Is Entitled to Innocence.

Buddhist Poetry Review

My poem “Where do we go from here?” appears in Issue 10, Fall 2013 on the theme of Samsara.

Issue Ten Cover

Spark the Magazine

The June issue of Spark is out. It’s about the Facets of Nature. Check out my poem “Colombo.”


Spark – June 2013 Issue

Earthen Lamp Journal

The Return is featured in Vol I Issue II of Earthen Lamp Journal on the theme of conflict.


Poet’s Basement at CounterPunch

“Misunderstanding” is published in Poet’s Basement in CounterPunch, May 1, 2013.

About Place Journal

My poem “Tall Majesty” is included in Volume II Issue I of About Place Journal on the theme of trees.

Spark the Magazine

My poem “Wednesday Afternoon” is published in this month’s issue of Spark the Magazine. The theme explores “Life on the Street.”

Spark – May 2013 Issue


My poem At the Cafe is published in Berfrois today, April 30, 2013.

Poems for Freedom

In February 2013, Freedom Press an anarchist publisher in Whitechapel, East London was firebombed. Alex Clarke brought together a group of poets to Donate A Poem for Freedom to raise funds in support of Freedom Press. This is the result – an anthology of 45 poems by The Freedom Poets, a group of established an emerging poets. Released today Poems for Freedom is available on lulu.

Poems for Freedom



Pretzels & Bullfights: Lorca, The Gypsy Poet


Here’s an interesting post about an amazing poet – Lorca.

Originally posted on dVerse:


“I still consider myself a true novice, and I’m still learning my profession … One has to ascend one step at a time … [One shouldn’t] demand of my nature, my spiritual and intellectual development, something that no author can give until much later … My work has just begun.”

CASIDAS (Translation by A. S. Kline)


The rose was
not looking for the morning:
on its branch, almost immortal,
it looked for something other.

The rose was
not looking for wisdom, or for shadow:
the edge of flesh and dreaming,
it looked for something other.

The rose was
not looking for the rose, was
unmoving in the heavens:
it looked for something other.

Federico Garcia Lorca was one of the most important Spanish poets of the twentieth century. Born in 1898 in Fuente Vaqueros, was fortunate in his early years to be influenced by his…

View original 743 more words

Writing on Peace

Two of my poems, “Lost in Thought” and “The End of Summer” are included in Dove Tales, an International journal of the Arts “Occupied”  2013.


DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013

Poetry Reading at Expographic Bookstore

I’m reading three of my published poems, “Questions Left Unanswered” (Winner of the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013), “The Violinist” (Voices Israel Poetry Anthology 2012) and “Hope” (Song of Sahel 2012)

Interview revisited

The interview I did with Morgen Bailey in February is revisited in her blog Morgen’s Author Interviews. Check it out if you missed it the first time.

Winning Writers Newsletter -March 2013

I’m featured in the Winning Writers Newsletter -March 2013. Check out the section on “Recent Honors for our Newsletter Subscribers.”

Thank You All

A big THANK YOU to everyone that likes my posts/pages and add interesting comments.

I’m a lazy blogger as you may have realized…. although I don’t always comment I do appreciate and value the time you spend on my blog.

Celebrating Sri Lankan Women’s Writing in English

The English Writers’ Cooperative (EWC) of Sri Lanka in association with the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) organised an evening of poetry and prose by Sri Lankan women writers to celebrate International Women’s Day. Some of the work can be viewed here.

December 16, 2012 is one of the poems I read out. It was written in January this year and was in response to the horrific event that took place in Delhi, India in December that sent shock waves across the world.

December 16, 2012

They made a movie on a bus

riding around town, no one


heard the songs, or

saw the dances. The action stars


were new. Later, someone threw

in a name – Amanat. On and


on they moved around Delhi’s leafy

avenues, curtains drawn while the engine


kept time to the sounds inside. No cuts

no breaks the actors played their


part. The heroine protested – like all

heroines do. A new face she was dressed


for the part. An item girl they sang as

she danced. Munirka to Dwarka


it purred on its way. The wheels turned

round and round as the winter chill crept


through the leaves on the trees

and a single leaf fluttered to the ground,


torn apart. It fell across the road and no

one took note. Just another


leaf among so many in the city. Action

spent the bus came to a stop but


before they could shoot again the city rose

in wrath to demand a ban on the script’s


repeat. Candles lit, they waited it out, but

the wheels grind slowly round


and round. And while the old men argued

in vain inside colonial walls another


leaf fell silently to the ground.


© 2013  Shirani Rajapakse

Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest – Why the judges chose “Questions Left Unanswered” as the winner

Read the judges comments on why they chose “Questions Left Unanswered” as the winner of the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013. Read the poem and the description of the poem.




Poetry in Buddhist Poetry Review

Two poems, “Alone” and “Samsara” are published in Buddhist Poetry Review – Issue Eight Spring 2013.

Issue 8 Cover

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