Novel On Sri Lanka Civil War Wins Award
MELBOURNE, (IANS) – Renowned Australian-Tamil lawyer, Shankari Chandran, has been honored with the prestigious $60,000 Miles Franklin Literary Award for her captivating novel, “Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens.” The highly anticipated announcement took place at a ceremony held recently at The Ovolo Hotel in Sydney.
Expressing her excitement and gratitude, Chandran shared, “It’s such an honor to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award, honestly, I’m still in shock. To be recognized among my Australian writing peers in this way is extraordinary. It means so much to me that ‘Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens,’ a novel that explores what it means to ‘be Australian’, has been recognized in this way.”
Set against the backdrop of a Western Sydney suburb, the novel delves into the lives of residents in an aged care facility, managed by a Sri Lankan native who sought refuge in Australia during the tumultuous civil war in the eighties. Through this poignant narrative, Chandran skillfully touches on themes of war, genocide, racism, family, love, and friendship.
The judging panel, comprising of eminent figures such as author and literary critic Bernadette Brennan, literary scholar and translator Mridula Nath Chakraborty, book critic James Ley, NSW Mitchell Librarian and Chair Richard Neville, and author and editor Elfie Shiosaki, praised Chandran’s novel in a joint statement. They noted that it adeptly navigates through contested historical claims, underscoring the importance of acknowledging past atrocities to prevent their repetition. The novel beautifully portrays a solemn history through a diverse and endearing group of elders, urging readers to open their hearts and minds to the power of literature.
Chandran’s personal background adds depth and authenticity to her storytelling. Her parents, both doctors, fled Sri Lanka during the brink of civil war, first seeking refuge in the UK, where the author was born, before eventually settling in Australia three years later.
With an impressive career spanning two decades in the social justice field, working on national and international program design and delivery, Chandran’s passion for making a positive impact shines through her writing. Currently based in Sydney, she continues her work in social impact for a leading Australian national retailer.
Notably, Chandran’s upcoming political thriller, “Unfinished Business,” which remains unpublished, has already garnered attention. It is slated for release as an Audible Original in 2024, further cementing her position as a literary force to be reckoned with. As her literary journey continues to unfold, readers eagerly await more thought-provoking tales from this remarkable storyteller.