2014 in review

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog this year. Hope you have a peaceful and wonderful New Year. See you soon in 2015.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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

Celebrating Sri Lankan Women’s Writing in English on International Women’s Day

The English Writers’ Cooperative of Sri Lanka

in association with

 International Centre for Ethnic Studies

cordially invites you to a Literary Evening

Celebrating Sri Lankan Women’s Writing in English

Thursday, March 7, 2013;  4.00 pm – 6.00 pm

at the

ICES Auditorium , 2, Kynsey Terrace ,Colombo 08

Moderator:

Kamini de Soysa

Programme

Introduction to the EWC  – Vijita Fernando

The Narrator in Creative Writing – Prashani Anjali Rambukwella

Readings: 15writers from their works

Participating Writers

Nanda P. Wanasundera             Summary         Emerged  Kandy Women  

Premini Amarasinghe                 Poem                 Realisation

Rukshani Weerasuriya               Poems               The Birth,  It is no sacrifice

Basil Fernando                              Poem                  A Woman for Other Women

PunyakanteWijenaike               Short Story       Reconciliation

Shireen Senadhira                     Poem                   Where Am I

Sakuntala Sachithanandan    Poems                  Daughter, Rizana, All is Burning

Chitra Premaratne-Stuiver    Poem                    Lechery Machismo for the Birds

Myrle Williams                            Short Story         Investigative Journalism

Jayanthi Kaththriarachchi    Poems                   Patachara Laments,. Gratitude

Faith   Ratnayake                        Poem                      Hands

Jayani  Senanayake                   Poems                   Loku Amma, Lender of Perfumes, The Other Woman,                                                                                           Advice on entering the Adult World, The Gorgon

 Mariam Riza                               Short Story          The Child that Died

 Shirani Rajapakse                    Poem                      December Sixteenth  20/12

 Vijita Fernando                          Short Story           The Prize

 

A Gift for Life – Join me in the Song Of Sahel

I’ve been busy working with friends from around the world on a new anthology to be launched next month.  Song Of Sahel brings together some of the artists who collaborated on Every Child Is Entitled to Innocence as well as many new and interesting artists. Song Of Sahel is unique as it is not merely poetry and prose but will include paintings, artwork, music and photography along with poetry and prose. Song Of Sahel will be published by Plum Tree Books as a multi-media kindle and will be available on Amazon. Proceeds of the sales will go to SOS Sahel, an NGO working in the Sahel region of Africa.

The Song Of Sahel is yet another brainchild of my friend Dr. Niamh Clune.  A month ago Niamh decided to bring together a group of artists to produce this unique anthology to help raise awareness and the much needed funds to help the people of the Sahel. Spurred by a poem about the plight of the people in the Sahel by Wayne Tolbert one of our gifted poets, the Song Of Sahel was born.

Why in the world the Sahel? You may ask. And here’s the reason.

Millions of people are affected daily by adverse weather conditions around the world. Yet none are harsher than the severe drought prevailing in the Sahel – a narrow band of semi arid land south of the Sahara. Encompassing countries such as Senegal, Mali, Burkino Faso and Niger the Sahel once boasted of some of Africa’s most influential civilizations. It is today one of the poorest and most environmentally damaged places on earth.

Soil erosion, deforestation, insufficient irrigation, desertification, drought and overpopulation are just some of the problems faced by the people of the Sahel. The incomes of the people have reduced and finding food has become a luxury. Many people are forced to eke out a living outside of their traditional occupations of herding and farming drawing them to the cities where overpopulation creates a whole new set of problems. And as always it’s the children that get affected the most.

Aid agencies based in the Sahel region are working nonstop to help alleviate the suffering of the people of the Sahel. But are we to leave the work to aid agencies alone? Do we merely give a few coins in support to whatever charity and then turn away hoping they do the needful? No. As artists we need to do more. Much more. We may not be able to give much in terms of money but we can together give our talents to make money that will feed the hungry and buy books for the children.

We can help and together we can make a difference.

I ask you, writers, poets, painters, photographers, bards, singers, songwriters, musicians and the occasional town crier to join in with us and help make a difference, even a slight difference in the lives of these people.

You can contribute anything, the only criteria is that it has to be about the Sahel region. Song Of Sahel already includes artists from around the world – from the UK, US, Ireland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Canada, South America, India and Australia who have joined to raise awareness of the plight of the people living in the Sahel.

We are accepting submission until August 15, so hurry and send them in. You can contact us via www.ontheplumtree.wordpress.com on how to make a submission or how to link with us.

Song Of Sahel will be launched worldwide on September 15 at

http://www.facebook.com/events/455785594445002/ 

or www.ontheplumtree.wordpress.com

You can meet some of the artists involved in the project, listen to music composed especially for the event and hear live recordings of some of the poems submitted. You can also listen to a radio broadcast.  The event begins at 10 am GMT and will continue round the clock until 10 am the following day.

I look forward to meeting you.