Two Sinhala novels – translated into English – launched in Canada

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Translator Somasiri Munasinghe presents Dear Victoria to the Chief Abbot of Toronto Maha Vihara, Ven. Ahangama Rathanasiri Nayake Thero

For the first time in the history of Sinhala literature, two Sri Lankan novels which were translated into English were launched in Canada on November 9.

Mohan Raj Madawala, the original writer of the two works of fiction, Aadaraneeya Victoria and Loveena, arrived from Sri Lanka to be present at the event which was held at the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre in Mississauga.

MPP Khaleed Rashid. Member of Provincial Parliament in Mississauga East-Cooksville, Mrs. Rashid and Kelaniya University Alumni President Mohan de Alwis

The novels were translated by Somasiri Munasinghe, a Toronto-based journalist and blogger, under the titles Dear Victoria and Loveena.

The chief guests were MPP Khaleed Rashid. Member of Provincial Parliament in Mississauga East-Cooksville and his wife.

Writer Mohan Raj Madawala (left) and Somasiri Munasinghe

Dear Victoria is based on an interesting historical period of Ceylon beginning from the introduction of railway to the island under the British rule, ending just before the tumultuous, but bloodless, independent struggle.

Dr. Swarna Chandrasekera delivering the keynote speech

Loveena is a real-life love story between British Governor Thomas Maitland and Loveena, an untouchable girl, an offspring of a Portuguese soldier and a low-caste Rodiya woman. The present sea-side tourist hotel of Mount Lavinia was the private residence of the governor who built a tunnel under the edifice to facilitate their secret trysts.

A dance item choreographed by Rasanthi Thamarasi

A visit to this underground passage is a must-see for the tourists who flock to the hotel, which was named after the untouchable woman. The governor called her Lavinia.

The main sponsor of the book launch was the University of Kelaniya University Alumni Association of Canada. The Canadian-Sri Lanka Friendship Circle and Sinhala monthly newspaper Yathra too helped in arranging the event.