The project supports the curation and delivery of 8 literary events (workshops on creative writing in English and guest talks) from June 2023 – January 2024. The events are led by renowned British writers whose travel and stay in Sri Lanka as well as professional fee is sponsored by the project. The workshops are held in Colombo, Kandy and Galle and target university students, creative writers and members of the wider Sri Lankan literary and artistic community. 


  • Creating Complex Characters: A creative writing workshop with Monique Roffey 
    The workshop provided a general introduction on complex characters with a close reading of a passage from Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin and discussion on the character of Sally Bowles. Participants completed creative writing exercises and shared their story outlines afterwards.
    14 June 2023
    Department of English, University of Colombo
  • The Function of Space in your Story: A creative writing workshop with Monique Roffey at the Dept. of English, University of Peradeniya
    The workshop introduced undergraduates of the University of Peradeniya to the importance of describing and contextualizing place in storytelling, using illustrations from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinback. Participants thereafter created short narratives and storylines based on observations of the surroundings at the University which were later shared amongst the group.
    16 June 2023
    Department of English, University of Peradeniya
  • A Journey of Stories with Romesh Gunesekera and Monique Roffey
    This literary evening consisted of a reading by Romesh Gunesekera from one of his latest unpublished short stories, a recital of Sufi songs by the Muslim Choral Ensemble, followed by a reading by Monique Roffey of an extract from her book Mermaid of the Black Conch. Following the readings by each of the writers there was a Q&A with the audience. 
    14th June 2023
    ISHQ Colombo, Alfred Place, Colombo
  • Workshop
    Two workshops on children’s literature and narrative in celebration of World Children’s Day targeting young adult creative writers and teachers of English.
    13th October 2023 
    Halle de Galle, Galle
  • Workshop 
    Two workshops on a) story building and b) crafting children’s fiction targeting young readers and Sri Lankan authors of children’s literature.
    15th October 2023
    Sarasavi Bookshop and Lakmahal Community Library
  • Workshop 
    Masterclass for Sri Lankan writers of proven talent on craft, perspective and editing in creative writing.
    January 2024
    Lakmahal Community Library

British author, Sita Brahmachari, will be the visiting author for this October programme, to celebrate children’s day which is celebrated this month. She is the second author to visit under this partnership.


Date / Time

Workshop / Event




Thursday, 12 Oct
2.00p.m. to 5.00p.m.


Finding Your Voice: A workshop on how to write narrative imaginatively, foreground points of view, and structure a story.



30 students of G.C.E. ‘A’ level English. 25 students to be nominated from government schools in the Galle District, 5 places for International Schools in Galle.


Hotel Hasara, Galle.


Friday, 13 Oct
9.00a.m. to 12noon


In Their Voice: A workshop on how to teach creative writing to students, with a guide on crafting stories and teaching methods.


30 teachers of G.C.E. ‘A’ Level English in government schools in the Galle District.


Hotel Hasara, Galle.


Saturday, 14 Oct
3.00p.m. to 5.30p.m.


Writing Treasure Hunt: Interactive story telling workshop, on using words, phrases, characters, plots in story building.


Children aged 12 – 16 years.


British Council Library, Colombo.


Sunday, 15 Oct
9.00a.m. to 4.00p.m.


Writing into Childhood: Masterclass


Published Sri Lankan authors of children’s literature.


Lakmahal Community Library, Colombo.

About The Gratiaen Trust

The Gratiaen Trust was founded in 1992 by Michael Ondaatje, the internationally renowned novelist, poet and essayist of Sri Lankan origin, with an endowment of the Booker Prize money Ondaatje co-won for his novel The English Patient. Its mandate is to promote creative writing in English by Sri Lankan authors resident in the country, and translations into English of Sinhala and Tamil language literature by Sri Lankan translators primarily resident in the country.  The Trust is run on a voluntary basis by 11 Trustees with affiliations in Sri Lankan universities, the creative industries, legal, civil society, and business institutions.

See also