Stereotype

Jan 20, 2008 (LBO) — Sri Lankan writers trying to break into the international arena are facing a barrier from foreign publishers who expect books themed on the three-decade long conflict in the island. She says budding authors also need publishers who provide guidance with good editors who will help spruce up a book.

“The books that catch on are books about violence and books about terrorism where there is lot of blood on the floor,” says Yasmine Gooneratne, a Sri Lankan-born author and literary critic who has broken into the international publishing industry.

Gooneratne says books that deal with the day to day life are not considered appealing by the foreign publishers since the theme is not new to them.

Potential Backdrop

But the island has set the scene for a wide variety of themes for works of fiction in the past.

These ranges from R L Spittle’s stories about aborigine inhabitants of the island or Veddhas in a bygone era to Arthur C. Clarke™s futuristic novel about an elevator to space from the Sigiriya rock.

Some Sri Lankan authors writing in English have already made headway in foreign markets since most readers focus on the conflict theme.

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