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Encouraging the art of creative writing in Sri Lanka

Home grown Sri Lankan corporate, Fairway Holdings, hosted the second annual Fairway English Creative Writing Workshop on the 3rd and 4th of November 2017. Over 150 amateur writers took part in the 2-day workshop at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute in Colombo 07.

“Our sincere hope is that all of you will be encouraged and inspired by this workshop to excel in whatever type of creative writing that you are interested in,” stated Kavinda Dias-Abeyesinghe, the Deputy Chairman of Fairway Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, in his welcome address to the participants.

The first session of the day – Understanding Creative Writing – was by Gratiaen Prize winning novelist, Ms. Madhubhashini Dissanayake-Ratnayake. During her session, the author of ‘There’s Something I Have To Tell You’, discussed the power of all creative writers and the importance of stepping outside one’s comfort zone.

Renowned author, editor and publisher, Ms. Ameena Hussein stepped up on stage next and presided over an insightful session on writing short stories. Discussing the art of composing short stories, Ms. Hussein dwelt upon four essential points –Setting, Timeline, Characters and Dialogue. The author of ‘Fifteen’ and ‘Zillij’ also introduced the budding writers to the 8 Point Story Arch – Stasis, Trigger, Quest, Surprise, Critical Choice, Climax, Reversal and Resolution.

Following the lunch break, the third session – Getting Published – began. Conducted by famed journalist, editor, bookseller and publisher, VijithaYapa, the session dwelt upon the intricacies and finer points of publishing and what publishers look for in amateurs.

Yapa spoke of the importance of capturing the people’s interest in local topics and themes, stating that Sri Lanka had so many beautiful stories to tell but no one to pen them. Mr. Yapa also discussed the role of translations as well.

The fourth and final session of the day – Writing Novels – was by Ms. CharulathaAbeysekara, 2016’s Gratiaen Prize winner. Ms. Abeysekerara, who won the Gratiaen Prize for her novel, ‘Stories’, shared the tale of her journey with the gathering. Ms. Abeysekara explained the dos and don’ts in the process of becoming a recognized author.

The second day’s agenda began with a session on Playwriting and screenwriting by actor, playwright and theatre director, Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke.

Welandawe-Prematilleke discussed crucial element of playwriting and screenwriting with the gathering, including the difference between writing for a live audience and for a reader, the internationally established format and structure of screenwriting and the art of writing for both the theatre and the screen.

Ms. Jill Macdonald, the founding Principal of The Study, Colombo’s first Sixth Form College, and a judge of the Gratiaen Prize, conducted the second session of the day – Editing for Publication. Ms. Macdonald also went on to point out the differences between editing and proofreading and also stressed the importance of the maintaining a close relationship between the writer and the editor to ensure that the two parties would be able to better understand each other.

The final session of the workshop was based on the topic – Writing Poetry. Internationally well-known poet, Ms. Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe pointed out to the audience that it was important to understand poetry and its finer points in order to construct a poem. Ms. Jirasinghe encouraged the aspiring poets in the audience to think a fresh and ensure that every one of their poems is original and unforgettable.

A large number of participants were extremely grateful to Fairway Holdings for organizing such an educational program.

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