Yasmine Gooneratne

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Yasmine Gooneratne
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Occupationuniversity professor, literary critic, editor, poet, essayist, short story writer, educator
NationalitySri Lankan

Yasmine Gooneratne (born 1935) is a Sri Lankan poet, short story writer, university professor, essayist. She is popular in Sri Lanka due to her patriotic works in the field of literature. Currently, she resides in Australia.[1][2][3][4]

Gooneratne was educated at some popular universities such as the University of Ceylon and Cambridge University. She now holds a personal chair in English and works as a Professor of the Macquarie University which is situated in Sydney, New South Wales.[5][6]


Yasmine Gooneratne married a Sri Lankan physician, Brendan Gooneratne in 1962. They have two children.

She was appointed Officer of Order of Australia in 1990 by the Australian government for her distinguished services to literature and education.[7] In fact, she is the only Sri Lankan to have received this honour. She received Ph.D for English literature from Cambridge University in 1962.[8][9]

Her international scholarship was described as being recognized with "Macquarie University's first higher doctoral degree (D.Litt.), the Order of Australia, and the Samvad India Foundation's Raja Rao Award for Literature which acknowledges authors who deal with the South Asian Diaspora in their literary work."[10] The Sunday Times of Sri Lanka wrote of Gooneratne:

When Saraswati did come into Yasmine’s life... she took the form of the goddess Tara. When The Samvad India Foundation singled out Yasmine for the Raja Rao award in 2002, they made her a gift of the beautiful little figurine. This international prize celebrates writers and scholars who have made an outstanding contribution to the literature of the South Asian diaspora, and the honour delighted Yasmine even as it took her by surprise. “I never expected that the Indian writing establishment would regard me in that light,” she says.[11]

Literature career[edit]

Yasmine Gooneratne has been one of the leading contributors to the English literature in Sri Lanka.

She is most notable for the poem, Big Match 1983 which describes the situation caused by the Black July riots and pogrom in Sri Lanka. The poem is based on real events that took place in 1983.[12] Gooneratne has published about 16 books with themes of patriotism and literary criticism. Her very first novel A Change of Skies (1991) won the 1991 Marjorie Barnard Literacy award for fiction and was shortlisted for the 1991 Commonwealth Fiction Prize. In 2008, she was nominated for International Dublin Literary Award for the novel The Sweet and Simple Kind.

Gooneratne also authored Stories from Sri Lanka and Poems from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore (1979), titles in the Writing in Asia Series published from 1966 to 1996.


  1. ^ "Gooneratne, Yasmine – Postcolonial Studies". scholarblogs.emory.edu. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  2. ^ "Yasmine Gooneratne". www.litencyc.com. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  3. ^ Bramston, Dorothy J. (1994). A Literary Biography of Yasmine Gooneratne as a Cross-cultural Writer in Australia. University of Southern Queensland. Faculty of Arts.
  4. ^ "Yasmine Gooneratne Books - Biography and List of Works - Author of 'Relative Merits'". www.biblio.com. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  5. ^ "Papers of Yasmine Gooneratne". www.nla.gov.au. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  6. ^ Austlit. "Yasmine Gooneratne: (author/organisation) | AustLit: Discover Australian Stories". www.austlit.edu.au. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  7. ^ "Gooneratne, Malini Yasmine: Officer of the Order of Australia". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  8. ^ "Professor Yasmine Gooneratne - Macquarie University". www.mq.edu.au. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  9. ^ "Yasmine Gooneratne | The Modern Novel". www.themodernnovel.org. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  10. ^ Deborah Weagel, "Language, Diaspora, and Identity: An Interview with Yasmine Gooneratne", South Asian Review, 2008, 29. 269-279. 10.1080/02759527.2008.11932589.
  11. ^ Daniel, Smriti (12 August 2012). "Writing under the gaze of her Saraswati". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).
  12. ^ "nation.lk ::: - A Big Match referRed unfairly". www.nation.lk. Retrieved 2017-11-02.