The Gratiaen Prize for the best work of creative writing in English was awarded to Vihanga Perera for his collection of poetry Love and Protest on 12 June 2015 at Park Street Mews, Colombo.
Commenting on the judging process, chairperson of the judging panel, Sonali Deraniyagala, commented on the high quality of the shortlisted submissions and reflected on the unique aspects of each work that engaged the judges’ interest.
Deraniyagala commended the winning entry for its deep engagement with themes of desire and love and for its powerful locally grounded political thematic content. She also spoke of how the Gratiaen prize has enabled creative writing in the country and how the prize can continue to play a vital role in fostering literary creativity.
The Gratiaen Prize has an unbroken history of rewarding literary excellence in Sri Lanka for over two decades and is awarded in affiliation with the Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka. The current value of the prize is Rs 200,000 and the H A I Goonetileke Prize for Translation which offers the same prize money is awarded every other year.
The prize was founded by Michael Ondaatje who was the joint winner of the Booker Prize for his novel The English Patient in 1993. Guided by Ondaatje’s vision of promoting Sri Lankan writing in English through a prize devoted to resident Sri Lankan writers, the Gratiaen Prize has supported, encouraged and rewarded Sri Lankan literary creativity with a number of Gratiaen winners gaining regional and international critical acclaim and popular success.