open book
Thursday 18 October 2018
18:30 to 20:00
British Council Colombo Library

Writers and editors tell unglamorous stories from their working lives. Vivimarie VanderPoorten, Vajra Chandrasekera, Ajitha G.S. and Sunila Galappatti work across different forms of writing and publication, from lyric poetry to science fiction, online and print. In an informal conversation with the audience they talk about the graft of writing: rethinking, revision, rejection and how they ever know when they’re finished with a work. 

Presented by the Gratiaen Trust in partnership with Commonwealth Writers

Ajitha G.S.

After completing a degree in law from the National Law School of India, Ajitha G.S. began her career in academic publishing, hoping to combine both her legal training and her love of books. Discovering she was mistaken, Ajitha turned to journalism where she worked for Tehelka, Time Out and Outlook Traveller, among other places, on news and features stories engaging with both politics and the contemporary cultural landscape of India. She brought these experiences back with her when she returned to publishing in 2011.

Until recently Ajitha G.S. was Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins India. She is now Managing Editor with Westland Publications where she co-runs Context, a year-old literary imprint focusing on politically engaged fiction and non-fiction.

Vajra Chandrasekera

Vajra Chandrasekera is a writer from Colombo and a fiction editor at the speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons. He has published over eighty short stories, poems, reviews and essays in publications including The Apex Book of World SF, the Spirits of Place Anthology by Daily Grail Publishing and Transcendent 2: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction published by Lethe Press. He blogs occasionally at and is @_vajra on Twitter.

Vivimarie VanderPoorten

Vivimarie VanderPoorten's first book of poems nothing prepares you won the 2007 Gratiaen Prize and her third book, Borrowed Dust was shortlisted for the 2016 Gratiaen Prize and awarded the Godage National Literary award for poetry in 2018. Stitch your Eyelids Shut jointly won the State Literary Award in 2011. She is a Senior Lecturer at the Open University of Sri Lanka. She holds an MA and PhD from the University of Ulster, UK. Her work has been published by Mongrel Books Pakistan, and in several anthologies in Bangladesh and India. Her poems have appeared in Postcolonial Text and Sugar Mule and published in Sinhala translation. After her recent Fulbright Grant at a university in the US, she is considering the possibility of writing flash fiction.

Sunila Galappatti

Sunila Galappatti has worked with other people to tell their stories as a dramaturg, theatre director, writer and editor. She started her working life as a dramaturg at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle; later developing and directing documentary theatre pieces. In Sri Lanka, Sunila has been Director of the Galle Literary Festival (2009 & 2010), a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at Brown University, a Visiting Lecturer at the Open University and worked with Raking Leaves on its Open Edit project. She is a Trustee of the Gratiaen Prize and was the Asia region judge for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2018. Sunila commissions and edits stories for Commonwealth Writers’ online repository She is the author of A Long Watch, retelling the memoir of a prisoner of war.

All are welcome - entrance is free.

Call 011 7521 521 for more details.

Category icon
General events, Library