Poetry, Fiction, Humourous Columns
Current Chairperson – EWC; member since 1997
MTL remembers writing her first poem on her 6th birthday. Her next efforts were during her middle school years; intense shyness prevented her from showing these to any but her family. Her first published story was ‘’The Mule’s Reward”, published in the Parish News Bulletin in the 1970s.
Motherhood pushed writing to the back burner but ironically, led to a humourous column, “Motherhood with a Pinch of Salt” parts one and two being published in the Sunday Times. This was followed by other columns by the names of “Me and My Mid-Life Crisis”, “Love, Life and the Neighbourhood” and “Did I Say That?” under the pen name – MARIE.
In 1996 she entered and won the Competition for Short, Short Stories run by the English Writers Cooperative that year. Her entry “Shadows”, was published in CHANNELS, the journal published by the English Writers Cooperative of Sri Lanka and subsequently in the Sunday Times. This was the first time she had the courage to write under her name, or initials, MTL Ebell.
Short stories and poetry followed at regular but not earth-shattering intervals. In 2007, MTLE brought out a book of short stories and poetry titled – ‘Short & Verse”. This book won the State Literary Award for Short Stories in the English Language awarded in 2008. The trip to Kamburupitiya to attend the Award Ceremony will remain in her mind for ever.
The highlight of MTLE’s literary career so far, was winning the State Literary Award for Best Novel – awarded in 2014 for her novel “Thus, She Grew”, published in 2013. A biographical novel, it describes the early years of Mignon Dissanaike, MTLE’s mother, with the help of her father’s diaries which he bequeathed to her with permission to use the contents her work.
MTL Ebell is member of two writers organisations in Sri Lanka, one being the EWC. The second writers’ group is the English Writers’ Workshop aka the Wadiya Group. (So called because the regular monthly meetings took place at the Beach Wadiya, a famous seafood Restaurant situated in Wellawatte). This was the brainchild of the EWC and was set up to encourage writers to actually read out their work and receive feedback from senior established writers with a view to improvement and growth.
MTL Ebell writes regularly and publishes selectively. She considers herself first, a career homemaker: Wife, mother, grandmother, sibling and considers herself blessed in her family and her extended family,
Thus, She Grew, VijithaYapa Publications – 2013 – The State Literary Award for Best Novel in the English Language – 2014
Short & Verse – VijithaYapa Publications – 2007 – The State Literary Award for best Short Stories in the English Language – 2008
Short stories and columns in The Sunday Times Newspapers – a Wijeya publication.