Papers of Yasmine Gooneratne
Scope and content note
- 84 cm. (6 boxes)
- Available for reference.
The papers include correspondence, reviews of Relative merits, drafts of Word,
bird, motif : poems, A change of skies and The pleasures of conquest and
Gooneratne donated her papers to the National Library of Australia on 23 December
1996 under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme.
Gooneratne has compiled a detailed numbered list of her papers. A copy of this
list is available for viewing in the Manuscript Reading Room.
Yasmine Gooneratne was born in 1935 in Sri Lanka. She is a university professor,
literary critic, editor, bibliographer, novelist, essayist and poet. Gooneratne was
educated at the Universities of Ceylon and Cambridge. She became a resident in Australia
in 1972. She holds a personal chair of English at Macquarie University 1991- and was the
foundation Director of the Post-Colonial Literatures and Language Research Centre,
1988-93. She has been a visiting professor or expert specialist at, among places here and
overseas, Edith Cowan University, University of Michigan, Ann Abor, and University of the
Gooneratne has published sixteen books. They include works on literary criticism,
edited anthologies of Asian poetry and prose, two novels and several volumes of poetry.
Her books include her family history Relative merits : a personal memoir of the
Bandaranaike family of Sri Lanka (1986). Her first novel, A change of skies
(1991) won the 1992 Marjorie Barnard Literary Award for Fiction and was short listed for
the 1991 Commonwealth Fiction Prize and her second novel, The pleasures of conquest
(1995) was short listed for the 1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize.
In addition Gooneratne has contributed literary articles, poetry and other
writings to a wide range of journals and anthologies. Some of her work is published under
the male pseudonym Tilak Gunawardena. In 1990 she was invited to become the Patron of the
Jane Austen Society of Australia.
She was awarded the AO in 1990 for distinguished service to literature and
education. In 1991 she was awarded a Writer's Fellowship by the NSW Ministry for the Arts.
This involved residence at Varuna Writers' Centre where she worked on the final draft of A
change of skies.
Gooneratne's work has been presented on television and radio and at public
readings in Australia, India, Britain, United States, Canada, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Her achievements are noted in Who's who of Australia 1997, and in The
Oxford Companion to Australian Literature.
The papers have been arranged by the donor and this arrangement has been preserved.
||Personal correspondence and review
||Reviews of Relative merits : a personal
memoir of the Bandaranaike family of Sri Lanka, 1986-87
||Word, bird, motif : poems, 1970
||The lizard's cry and other poems , 1971-72
||A change of skies, 1989-91
||The pleasures of conquest, 1993-95
||Published books, 1971-81
||Published articles, 1960-96
Series 1. Personal correspondence and review articles, 1970-96
This series comprises photocopies or transcriptions of letters and articles expressing
personal and public responses to Gooneratne's published works including books of poetry Word,
bird, motif (1971), The lizard's cry and other poems (1972), 6000 ft death
dive (1981); anthologies edited by Gooneratne and published by Heinemann Educational
Books in 1979; a critical work, Silence, exile and cunning : the fiction of Ruth Prawer
Jhabvala (1983); her family history Relative merits : a personal memoir of
the Bandaranaike family of Sri Lanka (1986) and novels A change of skies (1991)
and The pleasures of conquest (1996).
Correspondents include Shelagh Anghie, Marian Abeysuriya, Muriel C. Bradbrook, Ken L.
Goodwin, Lakshmie de Silva, Ellen Dissanayake, Patrick Fernando and Judith Rodriguez. Also
included are two articles on Gooneratne's poetry, by H. W. Piper and by Siromi Fernando
and Ryhana Raheem respectively, together with reviews published in various countries
including Australia, Sri Lanka, India, United Kingdom and United States. Also included are
two photographic portraits of Gooneratne taken in 1959 and 1991.
Series 2. Reviews of Relative merits : a personal memoir of
the Bandaranaike family of Sri Lanka, 1986-87
Gooneratne's family were one of the ruling families in colonial and
post-colonial Sri Lanka. The family included two former Prime Ministers. The family
history Relative merits : a personal memoir of the Bandaranaike family of Sri Lanka is
based on interviews with family members and on Gooneratne's memories of life in Ceylon.
This series contains reviews by Anne Abayasekara (Lanka Woman), Horace Bent (The
Bookseller), Alfreda de Silva (Sunday Observer), Khema de Silva (Sun),
Lakshmie de Silva (CRNLE Reviews Journal), Gareth Griffiths (Forum), Donald
L. Horowitz (The New Republic), Manique Karunaratne (The Island), Nihara
Krause (Sri Lankans), Doireann Mac Dermott (University of Barcelona), Bruce
Mc Leod (Sunday Guardian), Susan Moore (Quadrant), Elizabeth Nissan (TLS),
Anders Sj÷bohm (Sydasien) (in Swedish and English), Hugh Tinker (British Book
News), Steven R. Weisman (New York Times Book Review) Rajiva Wijesinha (Ceylon
Observer), A. J. Wilson (South Asia and Macquarie University News), Dennis
Wright (Asiaweek) Alistair Niven (Commonwealth Today) Andrew Peek (Books
and Writing) and Meenakshi Mukherjee (Express Magazine). Also articles by Ric
Throssell and John F. Riddick and a feature article in Asiaweek on 'Being Asian in
Series 3. Interviews, 1983-94
Photocopies of interviews with Gooneratne by Meenakshi Mukherjee Book Review
(Mar.-Apr 1983), R.P. Rama SPAN (Apr 1994) and Tina Faulk Canberra Times (29
Series 4. Word, bird, motif : poems, 1970
This series comprises typed and handwritten annotated drafts and work sheets, a copy of
the typescript given to the printers in September 1970 and the corrected proofs.
Series 5. The lizard's cry and other poems , 1971-72
This series comprises typed and handwritten annotated drafts and work sheets for The
lizard's cry and other poems.
Series 6. A change of skies, 1989-91
Gooneratne's first novel which deals with a Sri Lankan family living in Australia was
published by Picador in 1991. This series comprises four successive typed and annotated
drafts written between 1989 and 1991. There is one file of notes and clippings including
correspondence to Fiona Giles about the manuscript and information about the author's 1991
stay at the Eleanor Dark Foundation Ltd Varuna Writers' Centre. A typescript of a poem Pilgrims'
progress written at the centre is included. The series contains the final annotated
typescript with suggestions for the book cover design and correspondence with the
publishers, Pan Macmillian. This book subsequently won the 1992 Majorie Barnard Literary
Award of Fiction.
Series 7. The pleasures of conquest, 1993-95
Gooneratne's second novel deals with Euro-Asian relations as Ceylon undergoes the
transition from a British colony to an independent Sri Lanka. It was first published by
Penguin Books, New Delhi, in 1995. This series contains four successive drafts written
between 1993 and 1995. The fourth draft is slightly annotated, the other three are clean
Series 8. Published books, 1971-81
This series contains copies of some of Gooneratne's published books including: Word,
bird, motif : poems (1971); The lizard's cry and other poems (1972); New
Ceylon writing (1973); Stories from Sri Lanka (1979); Poems from India, Sri
Lanka, Malaysia & Singapore (1979); Jane Austen : Sense and sensibility : notes
(1980) and 6,000 ft death dive (1981).
Series 9. Published articles, 1960-96
This series contains copies or photocopies of approximately 180 items by Gooneratne on
literary topics in a wide range of journals published between 1960 and 1996. These items
appeared as contributions to books, chapters, introductions, essays; occasional papers;
periodicals that she edited; articles and review articles; reviews of other authors;
bibliographies; poetry and fiction published or reprinted in journals and anthologies and
newspaper articles. The topics include Jane Austen, Alexander Pope, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala,
Asian writers and writing, cross-cultural experiences and literature, the history of
Ceylon in the 19th century, writing a family history, English literature, Asian
literature, post-colonial Asian literature written in English, a paper on Salman Rushdie's
The Satanic verses (1988) and women and literature.