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The South Asian Literary Recordings Project

Gunadasa Amarasekara, 1929-


Image of  Gunadasa Amarasekara (photo credit: )

Select page numbers to listen or LCCN to display the bibliographic record. These recordings were made in the field and audio quality may vary.


  1. Gamanaka Mula.
    Boralasgamuva: Visidunu Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2001
    (LCCN: 84910214)
  2. Karumakkaarayo.
    Colombo: Dayawansa Jayakody & Company, 1996
  3. Gananduru madiyama dakinemi arunalu.
    Nugegoda : Piyavi Book Publishers, 1988
    (LCCN : 88902638)
    • "Apa satuva eti jaatika chintanaya kumakda ?"
      Realmedia excerpts: pp. 9-11
      MP3 excerpt: pp. 9-11
  4. Aavarjanaa.
    Colombo, Pradeepa Publishers, 1975
  5. Nuutana kaavya samhitaa.
    Colombo, S. Godage & Brothers, 1995
  6. Ektamen polavata.
    Boralasgamuva, Visidunu Publishers, 1993

Born in a village near Galle, the novelist, short story writer, poet, literary critic and essayist Gunadasa Amarasekara is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Sinhalese literature. He is also considered one of its more controversial writers as he examines hypocritical politicians and "self-centered intellectuals." Amarasekara revolutionized Sinhalese poetry with a new poetic form evolved from Sri Lanka's folk poetry. A dentist by training, Amarasekara began writing while a student at the Dental School in Peradeniya.

In the early fifties, his short story Soma was selected to represent Ceylon in a world short story competition organized by the New York Herald Tribune. It was published in the collection of World Prize Stories in 1952. This was the beginning of his illustrious literary career that spans over 50 years.

By the mid 1950s he was a leader of the new Peradeniya School of Poets. Increasingly rejecting foreign literary influences, he developed a distinct Sinhalese short story form. His stories deal mostly with the social and cultural aspects of the middle class. His first novel, Karumakkaarayo, triggered controversy as he examined a power hungry politician and showed "the beginning of his tribal warfare in its incipient stages, in the guise of village-politics in a remote village in the South." The novel was made into a film by Tissa Abeysekera.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, he ventured into a field of social, cultural and political criticism and continues in his role of social activitist and commentator. His seven-volume narrative Gamanaka mula examines the evolution of middle class Sri Lanka and enunciated the concept of Jaatika chintanaya (national consciousness). He continues his practice as a dental surgeon.

The Library of Congress has thirty-two works by him.

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October 6, 2010
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