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“Fallen Leaves” out now

Fallen Leaves my latest poetry collection is out now in paperback. You can get it at Amazon. The ebook will follow shortly.

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Description

Rajapakse uses poetry to look at the conflict that raged in the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka for close to three decades. People from all walks of life, ethnic, religious and age groups suffered. The Tamil terrorists disrupted life and property all over the country for three decades, while for a few years in the late 1980s a Marxist guerilla group caused chaos. The JVP was wiped out in a few years. The Tamil terrorists however took much longer.

These poems are a reflection of the time. They take on voices of people from across the divide and speak of the incredible loss the people all suffered.

They are dark yet thought provoking. They speak of a moment in history when people lived amidst a sense of helplessness and fear of terror.
It is dedicated to “all those we lost along the way.”
Blurb

She tried to recall the

day he walked out, the day she

last saw him and the exact moment

she heard his voice on the phone assuring her

all was well. And then

 

no more.

 

What happened? What went wrong?

She would never know. There was no

one left to respond, and those that were there

didn’t dare speak up as the reasons for

what took place didn’t make sense

so they kept quiet and hoped in time

she would understand.

 

Introduction

For close to thirty years the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka was embroiled in conflict.

In the early 1980s the Tamil terrorists – the LTTE – took to war to demand a separate homeland in the north of the country, despite a considerable number of Tamils living in the south. They began intensifying their demands by causing damage in all parts of the country. LTTE women suicide bombers blew themselves up in crowded public places in the mainly Sinhala dominated south, while explosive packed trucks rammed into building destroying lives and infrastructure.  As a response to and protest against the LTTE, the Marxist JVP guerillas created unrest in the south. People who didn’t listen to the JVPs diktats were kidnapped or killed. Those suspected of being JVP members were hauled off by the armed forces and taken in for questioning. No one was safe. Everyday brought fresh news of death or disappearance while bodies burnt on the sides of roads.

The government responded by hounding the JVP and ending their reign of terror within a few years. But not before thousands of young men and women were sacrificed. The LTTE, however, could not be eliminated so easily. They continued to wage war for close to three decades. Attacks on civilians took place so regularly that violence became more common than peace.

And where there was conflict there was devastation. People’s lives changed so drastically that no one ever though they would live to see a day when they could walk the streets unafraid. But that day finally did become a reality in 2009 when the LTTE’s guns were silenced, although it was at a cost to all citizens.

Fallen Leaves is both a look at the past years and a tribute to those fallen heroes, friends and family that never made it. They take on the voices of people from across the divide and speak of the incredible loss everyone suffered. It is also a reminder that guns don’t solve problems, but creates more hardships for everyone.

Part I focuses on the JVP years while Part II looks at the LTTE conflict.

 

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Winner – State Literary Awards 2019

I Exist. Therefore I Am won the State Literary Award 2019 in the short story category.

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Sappy’s World – January 18, 2019

A review of I Exist. Therefore I Am by Swapna posted on her blog Sappy’s World. You can also read it below.

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Book Title: I Exist. Therefore I Am
Author: Shirani Rajapakse
Format: Kindle edition

Book Title:
The title of the book is ‘I Exist. Therefore I Am’ is very strong and interesting.

Book Cover:
The book cover is the digital image of the ‘Woman’ symbol underwater. Which clearly gives a picture that the womanhood is getting drowned in the water, either dead or looking for survival.

Plot:
Our land is a place where Goddesses are worshipped and respected in an utmost way by everyone.  But most of the people fail to treat the Woman and show insolence towards them. Sometimes, they are tormented by the society and family in a  physical and mental way which forces them to take the unexpected treacherous decisions. The pain woman take is unexplainable and her toil is inappreciable.

The author has penned down the trauma and soreness which woman goes through in her stories.

The characters in the stories will show how rude the society is towards the woman and how they treat her when she is in twinge. While reading each story the reader will feel the chills in the spine. The horrifying stories and the disturbing plot will leave the reader in fury.

The pitiful stories of a mother, newly married woman, an aspiring young woman, widowed woman are presented in the book. Read this mind alarming book by Shirani Rajapakse.

What I like:
The plot of the stories is good and the characterization is good and stirring.

What I didn’t like:
In particular, there are no negatives which can be pointed out. The stories are way too tragic and make the reader feel pity about the life of a woman.

Narration:
The narration in all the stories is very well and it is easy to read.

Language & Grammar:
A clear language with neat and uncomplicated grammar is used in the book

My Final Verdict:
A book that focuses on the harrowing issues which women face in day to day life and to be read by everyone especially the youngsters.

Book Title: 3/5
Book Cover: 3
/5
Plot:
3/5
Characters:
4/5
Narration:
3/5
Language & Grammar:
4/5
Final Rating:
3/5

Link to buy the book:
https://www.amazon.in/I-Exist-Therefore-Am-ebook/dp/B07JD29CW6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547185814&sr=8-1&keywords=i+exist+shirani

 

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Second Edition of “Breaking News” out now

Breaking News was my first book that was published in 2011 by Vijitha Yapa Publications, a small book publisher in Sri Lanka. The book was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award in 2010 in MS.

There’s an ebook as well.

The theme of this collection is about living under the shadow of conflict and looks at both the JVP insurrection of 87-89 as well as the long drawn out conflict between the Tamil terrorist LTTE and the rest of the country.

Thanks to Hayley Faye for the cover.

Here’s the blurb

“A young girl searches for a loved one. A mother grieves for her sons. A soldier wakes up with a missing limb. A woman reveals her true nature when she blows herself up. A young boy is traumatized by the loss of his baby sister. These nine stories take you through glimpses of two civil wars and what it’s like to live under the threat of terrorism. Yet all is not dreary; there are glimpses of humor and satire as life goes on amidst pain and suffering.”

 

 

 

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Finalist in the 2018 Kindle Book Awards

Chant of a Million Women is a finalist in the 2018 Kindle Book Awards. Check it out below or go to the official awards page.

2018 Award Winners

Official 2018 Kindle Book Awards

The 2018 Kindle Book Awards is Sponsored by…

2018 Kindle Book Awards2018 Kindle Book Awards

 

 

 

Congrats top-20 category Semi-finalists! Listed in no particular order.

Semi-finalists: Contact jeffbennington@ymail.com to claim your Semi-finalist badge.

Horror/Suspense (Finalists & Semifinalists)

Young Adult (Finalists & Semifinalists)

Romance (Finalists & Semifinalists)

Poetry (Finalists)

Mystery/Thriller (Finalists & Semifinalists)

Non-Fiction (Finalists & Semifinalists)

Literary Fiction (Finalists & Semifinalists)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Finalists & Semifinalists)

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A Page to Turn – January 24, 2018

Here’s another great review of Chant of a Million Women from Bobbie at A Page to Turn. The same was also posted on Amazon.

A Page to Turn Blog of Bobbie Stanley

Reading Books in a Southern State of Mind

Review | Chant of a Million Women by Shirani Rajapakse

January 24, 2018

Bobbie

Rating: 4 stars

It’s hard for me to review poetry.  Prose makes it easy because grammar, flow, characters, and plots come into play.  Poetry, though, can’t be dissected quite the same way.  This book, while technically fewer pages than a lot of the ones I’ve reviewed, took significantly longer to read because it pulled me through so many experiences.  To say that I enjoyed it wouldn’t be quite accurate; each poem in this book made me thoroughly feel something, but most often those feelings were desperate, angry, and painful.  They shed light on lives and experiences I will probably never have a chance to understand through my life path.  They forced me to see things I would rather ignore and called out my typical American behavior of overlooking the hardships women face outside of this country.

There were times while reading this that I felt overwhelmingly guilty for having been born into a life that some people will never know.  I felt guilty for taking for granted the freedom that we have and for failing to use my voice when I have so much more opportunity to do so than women in more countries and societies than I can count ever will.  There were times when I felt embarrassed for the way that our society has taught people to behave.  Not all of these poems were particularly enjoyable in their experience, but every one of them sparked thought and brought up very real questions that we should all be considering.  That is the true value in this work.  It is not a light read.  It is not something you’d carry with you to the beach or enjoy over a night, relaxing vacation.  There’s nothing relaxing about this.  This is a book that sparks movement, that demands action.  If you are prepared to be dragged into a reality that most of us would prefer to ignore, this is a great way to do it.  Let these words show you the things you haven’t learned yet.  Let them make you angry.  Let them draw you out and call you to action.  Well done, Shirani.  This is a powerful collection, and I hope it calls forth the action and attention it deserves.

 

 

Review of Chant of a Million Women

On Basso Profundo, August 11, 2017.

 

Toward the end of Shirani Rajapakse’s plaintive and eloquent book of poetry, she has a piece called “The Poetess.” In its final lines she writes:

She walked with a spring in her step.
Her expression serious. They turned around
as they saw her pass.
She felt such pride. At last to be known.
Even if to just a few.
They did not know she had
nothing to show.

The last line surprised me, and moved me to immediate disagreement. Chant of a Million Women is certainly a notable achievement: it chronicles so many moods, in so many stories, from ancient Indian epic legends to the insurmountable challenges of every day. It consolidates and focuses our attention on the myriad ways men subjugate and objectify women, and the paltry few effective means women have to fight back. This applies particularly to cultures bound by tradition, such as one finds in India and the Middle East.

And women’s situations are so hopeless in this collection that fighting back isn’t really what it’s about. It’s about maintaining something so basic as one’s identity. So often used as a simple ornament, a status symbol, or property to be hidden away, the women in these poems lose their onetime promising selves to a male society, be it as some idealized – but definitely owned – prize, or a simple, reviled piece of furniture, or worse, a victim of violent crime.

Ms. Rajapakse places her poems in a number of milieux: traditional sexist households, dangerous, sometimes murderous, public thoroughfares, urban settings and rural. Often, no setting is specified, except the consciousness of the dispossessed woman.

A million women would indeed raise this chant. They would be fortunate were they to make it this resoundingly, with such force. The poetess distills their suffering to a specific litany, as though a bell were ringing to toll the offenses, forming a high-relief frieze of the hundreds of thousands of wives, daughters, and princesses whose stunted lives impoverish us all.

This is a distinctive, consistent collection in which the milk of human kindness has no place. Nowhere are the kind whispers of a lover or even the support of a life partner. Ms Rajapakse has consistently chosen her pieces with a eye to the plaints and sorrows of women. I salute the courage with which she lends her voice for the forgotten and uncared-for women suffering in so many places in the world. Take up Chant of a Million Women and experience its elegant phrases and its moral force.