Local Sri Lankan writer at Vancouver literature fair

News Item that appeared on the 27 September 2002 edition of Surrey/North Delta Leader, British Columbia, Canada, on R. B. Herath’s book reading at the Canadian national book fair of 29 September 2002

R. B. Herath’s Sinhalese poetry unique to festival

IT’S A MESSAGE of love and hope – a message Surrey’s R. B. (Bob) Herath is bringing to this year’s national book and magazine fair Word on the Street in Vancouver this weekend.

The annual, day-long event, which runs simultaneously with festivals in Halifax, Toronto and Calgary, features 112 authors reading, talking, singing books and discussing various genres of literature.

Herath will be reading from his book of poems Desappremayen Odavadiwa Darudariyanta Kavivalinma Liyu Lipiyak (translated as A Letter to Our Children in Poems Written through Patriotism), published in 1979. The book’s messages are ones the author believes every country and culture could benefit from, as he says they transcend borders of ethnicity, language and religion.

“It’s a message of love and respect, especially from a country of ethnic crisis.”

The Sinhalese poems were written during a time of civil strife and impending war in Sri Lanka, spurred by post-independence language policies.

The 172-poem book is divided into three “manageable” chapters, the first describing Sri Lanka’s physical beauty, history, and religious events, and the second explaining the transition into colonial rule and the freedom struggles that followed.

The final chapter of the book contains 56 poems illustrating the power of unity and working together for future success.

“We should be treating all life members as one big family, celebrating their diversity,” explains Herath.

Herath came to Canada in 1990, after growing up in Sri Lanka and travelling and studying in England and Africa. He has written and produced four stage dramas, and recently released a fourth book.

Not only is he the only Sinhalese writer taking part in the Vancouver festival, but his reading will be the first time there has been Sinhalese representation at a national event.

“All the people who know this language are very excited,” says Herath, adding his reading will be translated on site at the book fair.

His most recent book, Sri Lankan Ethnic Crisis: Towards a Resolution was recently published and is available online at www.trafford.com/robots/02-0606.html

For further information on Herath or this weekend’s literary event, log onto www.rbherath.com

For more information email: info@rbherath.com

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