During the workshop, participants were taught the craft of creative writing. In the evenings, there were visits by human rights workers who spoke about their life and work, and films were screened on the theme of reconciliation. Participants made two field trips into the Vanni and the border villages to meet villagers from these areas, sit in their homes and find out first hand their experiences of the war and about their lives postwar.
The project, conducted in English, brings together emerging writers from Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan diaspora, between the ages of 18 to 29, as well as Sri Lankan teachers and professors who are interested in writing fiction, memoir or poetry on the issues of conflict, peace, reconciliation, memory and trauma, as they relate to Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the period after the war.
Over the course of the weeklong residential workshop and two three week online forums, participants will learn the craft of writing and produce work that addresses the themes of the project. The work produced by the participants will be published in the Write to Reconcile Anthology 3.
The project’s outcome for 2016 will be focused more on creative pieces that reflect the post war situation with particular emphasis on the border villages and the Vanni. “Post-war themes, as well as pieces on the border villages and the Vanni, were in short supply in the previous anthologies. So I am keen the next anthology has stories and poems about this,” Mr. Selvadurai said.
In the past, attending a residential workshop in Sri Lanka was a mandatory part of the project, but diaspora participants were not always able to make the journey. “I wanted to make the project more accessible to them,” he said. “It is important to get their point of view too. They were key players in the war and should also be a part of post-war reconciliation.” So this year, Write to Reconcile is offering places for participants from the diaspora who want to only participate online.
Working together with ShyamSelvadurai and his team, including award winning writer NayomiMunaweera, brings an extra dimension of arts and culture into NPC's portfolio of activities that addressesthe heart as well as the head.
The two anthologies this partnership has produced have been very well received by those who wish to gain a deeper insight into Sri Lanka's transition process.