The best literary evening in London - සිංහල කාව්ය සන්ධ්යාව
Last week, a large gathering of Sinhala poetry enthusiasts in the UK experienced an exhilarating evening of poetry reading - also famously known as - spoken words of aesthetics. The venue was the main assembly hall of Sri Lanka High Commission in London. It was organised by London Nuwara Kavi Samajaya lead by writer, journalist, Daya Ananda Ranasinghe and lawyer, writer, columnist Anura Hegoda.
This fascinating evening was graced by the Acting High Commissioner in the United Kingdom for Sri Lanka H.E. Sugeeshwara Gunaratne as the Chief Guest. Worshipful Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow Council Mrs. Kareema Marikkar, and Croydon Councillor Mr. Niroshan Sirisena were present as Guests of Honour. More than a hundred of poetry lovers from all over UK had enthusiastically attended the event.
The Acting High Commissioner Mr. Gunaratne in his brief speech explained the unbroken connection of Buddhism with the Sri Lankan culture and country’s poetry. Mayoress Mrs. Marikkar in her speech cited two lines from the Lankan folklore poem 'Badagini welaa mama giya kala puthuge geta " to the amazed audience who appreciated her cultural memory and sweet rendition with applause and cheers.
Dr. Kusum Subhasinghe and Mrs. Suneetha Perera beautifully recited two sets of poetry by late renowned poets of Colombo era Saagara Palansuriya and Wilson Hegoda.
The main speeches of this evening were delivered by Prof T.S. Abeywickrema, Anura Hegoda and Daya Ananda Ranasinghe on various poetic themes that linked to the development of Sinhala psyche and Lankan culture. The programme was compered by Sujeeva Nivunhella, London correspondent for Upali newspapers in Sri Lanka.
After the speeches, it was the time for the presentation of Lanukasa awards to six distinguished persons for their commitment and dedication to Lankan culture, art, and education.
The Acting High Commissioner Mr Sugeeshwara Gunaratne, Worshipful Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow, Councillor Kareema Marikar and the Councillor Mr. Niroshan Sirisena presented awards to Dr. Mrs. Subhadra Siriwardena and Mrs. Lakshmi de Zoysa, for their commitment and dedication for education in Sri Lanka and in the UK, while Mrs. Prema Ganegoda, Mr. Ananda Weerakoon, Mr. Gamini Abeysinghe for their contribution for art, cinema and drama and Prof. T. S. Abeywickrema for his exceptional deep understanding of literature and Buddhism.
The poetry evening ended with happy memories of Mother Lanka through Sinhala poetry lines and taste of a cup of Sri Lankan tea and refreshments for all who were present.