Romesh Gunesekera

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Romesh Gunesekera
Writer Romesh Gunesekera reading from his book The Prisoner of Paradise
Romesh Gunesekera at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2012
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Sri Lankan born British
Notable works Reef; The Match
Notable awards Fellow of Royal Society of Literature UK, Sri Lanka Ranjana National Honour

Romesh Gunesekera FRSL (born 1954) is a Sri Lankan-born British author,[1] who was a finalist in the Man Booker Prize for his novel Reef in 1994.[2] He is currently the Chair of the Judges of Commonwealth Short Story Prize competition for 2015.[3]

Life and work[edit]

Born in Colombo to a Sinhalese Christian family in 1954, Romesh Gunesekera grew up in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, where his father was a founder of the Asian Development Bank, and moved to England in 1971 and currently lives in London. His first book, Monkfish Moon, a collection of short stories reflecting the ethnic and political tensions that have threatened Sri Lanka since independence in 1948, was published in 1992, and was shortlisted for several prizes.[4] His 1994 novel Reef was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Gunesekera travels widely for festivals, workshops and British Council tours. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Asia House Festival of Asian Literature.[5] He is currently one of the writers-in-residence for the charity First Story.[6] He also has a short story related to the theme of animal poaching.

He was a judge for a number of literary prizes, such as the Caine Prize for African Writing,[7] the David Cohen Prize for Literature, the Forward Prize for Poetry[8] and most recently the Granta 2013 list of the Best of Young British Novelists.[9]

He Chaired the board of Judges of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize competition.

He has been a Guest Director at the Cheltenham Festival, an Associate Tutor at Goldsmiths College and on the Board of the Arvon Foundation. For four years, until 2013, he was on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature.

He is married with two daughters.[10]


  • Noon Tide Toll – 2013
  • The Prisoner of Paradise – 2012
  • The Match – 2006
  • Heaven's Edge – 2002
  • The Sandglass – 1998
  • Reef – 1994
  • Monkfish Moon – 1992


  • Asian Achievers Award for services to media, arts and culture 2015
  • Sri Lanka Ranjana 2005
  • BBC Asia Award 1998 for Achievement in Writing & Literature
  • Winner Premio Mondello Five Continents Asia Prize 1997 (Reef)
  • Winner of Yorkshire Post First Work Prize 1995 (for Reef)
  • Finalist Booker Prize 1994 (Reef)
  • Finalist Guardian Fiction Prize 1994 (for Reef)
  • Finalist Commonwealth Writers' Regional Prize 1993 (for Monkfish Moon)
  • Finalist David Higham Prize 1992 (for Monkfish Moon)
  • Arts Council Writers' Bursary 1991
  • First prize in the Peterloo Open Poetry Competition in 1988
  • The Rathborne Prize in Philosophy 1976
  • Liverpool College Poetry Prize 1972


  1. ^ About Romesh Gunasekera
  2. ^ "Romesh Gunesekera", The Man Booker Prize
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Biography at Romesh Gunesekera website.
  5. ^ The website devoted to Contemporary writers
  6. ^ First Story
  7. ^ "Judges 2005", The Caine Prize.
  8. ^ "Forward Judges", Forward Arts Foundation.
  9. ^ "Granta and British Council Announce ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ Partnership", Granta.
  10. ^ Bunbury, Stephanie (2 September 2006). "Finding meaning in a long gone past", The Age, Insight, p. 10.

External links[edit]