Stories in the third anthology of the Write to Reconcile project focused on Sri Lanka’s post war situation with emphasis on border villages and the Vanni.
Participants travelled to the Vanni and the Sinhala border villages to hear stories of what the people had undergone and to get a sense of their lives and issues post war. In addition, human rights workers visited the workshop in Anuradhapura and spoke about their work and the ongoing issues for war affected people.
The writing project brought together 25 emerging writers from Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan diaspora, as well as Sri Lankan teachers and professors, who were interested in writing fiction on the issues of conflict, peace, reconciliation, memory and trauma.
Over the course of a weeklong residential workshop and two three-week online forums, participants learnt the craft of writing and produced work that addressed the themes of the project, which was run by international award winning author Shyam Selvadurai, supported by NPC and funded by the US embassy.
At the launch of the anthology, NPC Executive Director Dr Jehan Perera said Write to Reconcile was a microcosm what Sri Lanka should be like – people of different ethnicities and religions working together in harmony. “The different stories give us a sense of what divides us and exposes the multiplicity of viewpoints in our country,” he pointed out.
Mr Selvadurai thanked NPC for giving the project a home from the beginning and putting him in contact with human rights activists. “We still have a long way to go in terms of reconciliation and dealing with the wounds of the war. This anthology will, I hope, provide help in this process,” he said.
US Embassy Public Affairs Officer James Russo said the embassy was glad to support Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process and heal the wounds of war. Young people, he said, are the key to the process and Write to Reconcile gave them a platform to be heard.