9 Iconic, Contemporary Sinhala Poets – Part I.

Sri Lanka has a long history of storytelling (in Sinhala), through many forms of art – including novels, lyrics, short stories, and poems. It might not be the same as what it was in the pre-digital age, but still, it is safe to say that there are a large number of Sinhala readers.

Therefore to honour all the writers who are still contributing their time, creativity and efforts to enrich our Sinhala poetry culture, we thought of initiating a new article series.  This only the first part of it.

Rathna Sri Wijesinghe

Ratna Sri Wijesinghe is an award-winning lyrical poet. He was born in Galle, and is a student of Sri Sumangala College, Hikkaduwa and Richmond College, Galle, and also, the University of Peradeniya, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sinhala.

His first book of poetry titled "Biya Nowan Ayyandi" was published in 1975, making way for more excellent creatives, like "Wassane," "Suba Udaasana," "Midday Yamaya," "Sandhya Theertha" and "Sandagira Pamula."

He has composed lyrics for many famous artists (amateurs and seniors) in Sri Lanka. Some of them are "Sudu Neluma Ko Sorabora Wawe," "Mage Bisawune Asaapan," "Maala Girawiya," "Punsanda Raata," "Kirula Muthu Lihee," "Lenchina" and "Mage Duwe Numba Dan Awadiyen Nam." It's interesting that most of these lyrics drive inspiration from real life events and encounters. 

Gunadasa Amarasekara

Well known as a novelist, Gunadasa Amarasekara is also a talented poet.

Born in Galle on November 12, 1929, he was educated at Yatalamatta Junior College, Mahinda College, Galle and Nalanda College, Colombo. Although he graduated from the University of Ceylon with a degree in Dental Science and became a dentist by profession, he did not give up on his passion for writing.

"Uyanaka Hinda Liyu Kavi," "Bhaawageetha," "Amalbiso," "Aawarjanaa," "Asakdaa Kava" are among his most popular poetry, while "Rathu Rosa Mala," Jeewana Suwanda," Gal Pilimaya Haa Bol Pilimaya" and"Wilthera Maranaya" are considered as some of his best short story collections.

He also contributed some amazing novels to the Sri Lankan literature, like "Karumakkarayo," "Yali Upannemi," "Asathya Kathawak," "Gandabbha Apadaanaya" and "Depa Noladdo."

Buddhadasa Galappaththi

A veteran poet, writer and columnist, Buddhadasa Galappaththi has published many impressive collections of poems, including "Katapath Pawura," "Paara Wasaa Atha," "Rajinak Handuwaaya," "Dedenaama Diyaniyo," "Raya Paha Wea," "Dawasa Hetayi," and "Pahalos Paya." He's also the lyricist of some beloved Sinhala songs, like "Du Anuradha" and "Thaniwennata Mage Lowe."

Parakrama Kodituwakku

Parakrama Kodituwakku is one of the most accomplished poets in Sri Lanka, with his brilliant creations, such as "Podi Malliye," "Akeekaru Puthrayekuge Lokaya," "Aluth Minihek Awith," "Rashmi," "Dewiyan Minisun," "Lovi Kahata," "Diwaman Gajaman" and "Aloka Minisa." His creativity also extends to a number of novels and short story collections, like "Oba Samanga," "Klara," "Rosa Male Hadawatha" and "Sulange Diwu Kella." Many of his creations have received Rajya Sammana and Vidyodaya Sahithya Sammana

Ajith Thilakasena

Ajith Thilakasena, who introduced the concept of 'Pili Samarupikaranaya' to the Sinhala alphabet, is a poet as well as a short story writer. He has compiled many short stories, including "Sathuro," "Sunnadduli," "Pituwahal Kara Sitiddi," "Rathriye Poorwa Bhagaya," "Suba Rathriyak Ahawarayi," "Saadaya," "Wandanaawa," "Susuma Saha Peedaawa," "Arunella Watenakota Withara" and "Pas Wasarak." "Mal Wani Gal," "Rali Suli," "Maariyawa," "Elambena Agosthuwa" and "Mona Tharam Awulakda" are some of his most popular poetry books.

Nandana Weerasinghe

Nandana Weerasinghe's journey of poetry began with his book called "Gingage Vilapaya," in 1984, followed by many other brilliant pieces of poetry, such as "Kiri Suwandathi Rathriya," "Sathyakama Nam Wemi," "Giraga," "Mahath Sanda Pini Bindeka," "Chandra Bimba," "Raya Karaa Gamana," "Sahas Ras Yata" and "Kshana Niyaama."

Furthermore, he collaborated with Ariyawansha Ranaweera, another poet to publish another poetry book, "Thun Pethi Hathara Pas Pethi." It is noteworthy that almost every book written by Nandana Weerasinghe has won an award.

Eric Illayapparachchi

Eric Ilayaparachchi is a well-recognised Sinhala writer who has released many novels, short stories, poems, translations and academic books. "Madiyame Geethaya," "Aalindaya," "Mage Kolambata Handa Paayai," "Kisiwek Kaviyan Nomarathi," "Piththala Handiya," "Kaputa Saha Sitaano" and "Dasa Bimbara" are some of his best work. 

Ariyawansa Ranaweera

One of the most senior poets in the country, Ariyawansha Ranaveera is the proud owner of "Kavi Kihipayak," "Sammishrana," "Gea Kurullo Saha Vee Kurullo," "Sanda Ambindak," "Imak Saha Malak," "Athu Ithi," "Oyabada Wawullu," "Thith," "Kathika," "Elimahan Kavi Saha Guhaa Kavi," "Rala Samnga," "Thawamath Mal" and "Ima Thawa Duraya." He's well known for his poetry translations too, like "Wisiri Mini" – a Haiku poetry book, "Lilack Mal Mitak" – a Russian poetry book, and "Mini Pamini" – a Japanese poetry book and "Maga Depasa Mal" – a Chinese poetry book.

Lal Hegoda

Most people do not know that Lal Hegoda, a renowned photographer in our country, is also an incredible poet. His best work can be found in "Maa Minisek Oba Gangak Nisaa," "Pasaloswaka Sanda Mageya," "Gangak Wak Wee Galana Theana," "Sandun Aratuwa Dalwooye Obayi" and "Mekawa Methanin Nawathami" poetry books. The most recent addition to this collection would be "Komalani."

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