He was speaking at the '2017 Fairway National Literary Awards Ceremony', held on the eve of the Galle Literary Festival, on January 26.
He said, “This is the only national literary awards competition that accommodates all three main languages used in Sri Lanka. This to me is an important aspect of these Awards as it plays a role in portraying our true national character, representing Sinhala, Tamil as well as English writing which helps foster greater understanding among the different users of these three languages, while inspiring each to learn and appreciate the language of the other.”
“This is a crucial component in fostering reconciliation among the people of Sri Lanka. Just days from now, Sri Lanka will mark its 70th anniversary of Independence. In many ways, we live in the best of times, with our attention being focused on making Sri Lanka a truly reconciled, peaceful, stable and prosperous nation. Yet, we are beset with challenges that we have to work together as a nation, to overcome,” he said.
The award for the best Sinhala novel went to Anurasiri Hettige’s ‘Panduka Katha Wasthuwa’. This category had 87 entries.
The best Tamil novel was ‘Ethanam’ by Theniyam, while ‘The Other One’ by Amanda J.won the award for the best English novel
For the first time, a SAARC literary award was introduced this time. It went to Najibullah Malalai, for promoting literature and culture in Afghanistan. Founder of Galle Literary Festival Jeffrey Dobbs was given a special award.