by Rasika Suriyaarachchi -
Kalu Páta Kurullá, the short story collection by Sydney based Sinhala writer Malee Dissanayake was launched in a charming ceremony on Sunday 1 March 2020 at the Wrights Road Community Centre, Kellyville, NSW, Australia.
Malee Dissanayake is a well known personality in the Sydney Sinhala Community. She has been a teacher at the North Parramatta and St Mary’s Sinhala Schools for nearly ten years. She has also served the community as the Editor and Vice President (media) of the Sinhalese Cultural Forum (SCF) of NSW and also as the secretary of the Writers Guild of SCF. Malee has contributed poetry, short stories and various articles to the Sinhala Magazine published by the SCF over the last two decades and also to other Sinhala language publications in Australia such as the Pahana Monthly Magazine.
Kalu Páta Kurullá is the first book authored by Malee Dissanayake and it contains ten short stories penned by her. The book was published in Sri Lanka by Dayawansa Jayakody Publishers.
The ceremony began with a song dedicated to goddess Saraswathi, sung by Visharad Indu Premathilake followed by the lighting of traditional lamp. Dr Gnanathilaka Hewa Gamage, the current president of the Writers Guild of Sinhalese Cultural Forum of NSW delivered the welcome address and Upul Padukka Vidana, the current president of the Sinhalese Cultural Forum of NSW spoke congratulating the author on her achievement.
The author was introduced to the audience by Dr Cecil Fonseka and Sydney based literary critics Dr Don Wickrama and Dr Palitha Ganewatta delivered speeches on Malee Dissanayake’s short stories. Sri Lanka Consul General in Sydney Nimal Bandara delivered a speech on the influence of Hindu mythology on Sinhala literature.
Marking the launch of Kalu Páta Kurullá in Sydney, copies of the book were presented to Dr Senevirathne Banda, to Consul General Nimal Bandara, to Dr Sunil Govinnage and to Dhananjaya Karunaratne. In his speech, Dr Banda stated that the author Malee Dissanayake is a talented poetess and requested her to publish an anthology of her poems as well. He recited a few poems penned by Malee Dissanayake. In his brief speech, Dr Govinnage emphasised the need to educate mainstream Sri Lankan literary connoisseurs about the vast amount of Diasporic Sinhala literary activities taking place in Australia. Dhananjaya Karunaratne said that he has observed a certain level of professionalism in what Malee Dissanayake posts in Facebook.
There was a book launch with the book launch ceremony as well. Three recent novels, ‘Ahas Ima’, ‘Anushka’ and ‘Ela Kandiye Sunil’ written by Saman Dissanayake, the spouse of Malee Dissanayake, were presented to Dr Piyasoma Medis, to Madura Dissanayake and to Sandya Alahendra.
Samanalee Jayasuriya, Priyani Ganewatta, Ruvee Nimnadee and Hemal Jayawickrama entertained the audience with songs. All these songs except for the one sang by Priyani were composed by Malee Dissanayake.
This book launch was sponsored by the Writers Guild of Sinhalese Cultural Forum of NSW. The ceremony was compèred by Rasika and Pushpa Suriyaarachchi.
Click here to enjoy a photo gallery of the event.