Powerful collection of short stories written during Sri Lankan civil war published

A collection of short stories written during the Sri Lankan civil war by a lecturer at the University of Sussex has been published, and includes a tale used by English PEN to publicise the case of an abducted journalist.

Broken Jaw is a collection of eighteen stories set in Sri Lanka, written by Dr Minoli Salgado , Reader in English and a member of the Sussex Centre for Migration Research.

Divided into two parts, the book takes the reader on a journey from the public world of political conflict to the private space of home, while also exploring dislocations of violence and migration to the personal quest for peace and renewal.

Although the book was only launched at events in London and Brighton recently, the latter as part of Refugee Week, one story in the collection was previously used by English PEN to draw attention to the disappearance of Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.

Prageeth disappeared in January 2010 and has not been heard from since.

‘A Feast of Words’ is dedicated to Prageeth’s wife, Sandya Eknaligoda, who became an International Women of Courage Award recipient in 2017.

Dr Minoli Salgado said: “I wanted to dedicate this story to Sandya as it is based on her experience of trying to get her voice heard.

“The story was written just after she appeared unprompted at a major international literary festival to publicise her husband’s case but was denied a platform to speak. She’s also been threatened when she took her husband’s case to court.

“’A Feast of Words’ is satiric and focuses on freedom of expression - something her husband fought for. The collection as a whole draws attention to the challenges to - and importance of - finding a voice and being heard.”

Another of the stories in the collection won an award in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition and was broadcast globally by the Commonwealth Foundation.

Broken Jaw has been published by The 87 Press, an independent publishing house co-founded by Sussex alum and former English postgraduate student, Azad Ashin Sharma.

Read more about the collection online here.

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By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Wednesday, 7 August 2019

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