Short stories, novels.

Member of the EWC since its inception. Punyakante became a member along with Anne Ranasinghe and Rajiva Wijesinghe.

Before she became a writer she was an addicted reader. She remembers her Grandmother complaining to her mother many years ago: “This child is growing up with her head buried in a book” But that did not deter Punyakante’s mother from buying her more and more books.

Once she grew up and married and had three daughters she became more a writer than a reader. Every morning, with herengineer husband gone off to work and her daughters off to school, she would organise the household work and lock herself in the small office room which held her husband’s small typewriter.

She began inventing short stories based on the details of village life gleaned from the staff in her old home, where she used to share their bare wooden staircase rather than use the red-carpeted front staircase she descended upon as a bride on her wedding day.

This is the reason why her first book titled THE THIRD WOMAN contains stories of village life and humble people.

To quote Senator Reggie Perera: “The raw material that goes to make good writing is here; close and intimate. Punyakante Wijenaike’s collection of short stories is about men and women who lead their own kind of life in villages outside cities. They are real and alive much as anywhere in the world.

“Love at Harvest Time”, “The Polygamous carpenter”, “The Psychopathic affection of a mahout for his elephant”, “The stories of Kathirinahamy and Suduhamy” etc. began appearing in newspapers, magazines and journals. Her work appeared in an anthology by Professor D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke titled: SRI LANKAN ENGLISH LITERATURE AND THE SRI LANKAN PEOPLE 1917 – 2003.


THE THIRD WOMAN – 1963 – Short Stories

THE WAITING EARTH – 1966 – Novel (accepted by the University of Sterling, Scotland As a reading text for A Level Students. Also accepted as same in Sri Lanka the same year)

GIRAYA – 1971 – Novel – adapted for television by Dr. Lester James Pieris and accepted as an A level text.

THE BETEL VINE AND OTHER STORIES– 1976 – short stories for children

THE REBEL– 1979 – short stories

A WAY OF LIFE – 1987 – autobiographical sketches

YUKTHI– 1991 – short stories

AMULET– 1994 – Novel – won the Gratiaen Prize for that year

TO FOLLOW THE SUN – 1995 – Short Stories

AN ENEMY WITHIN – 1998 – Two Novellas

THE UNBINDING – 2001 – Novel

THE SEPALIKA TREE – 2001 – Story for children


THE SUNSET YEARS – 2004- non fiction

COMING TO TERMS – 2006 – A novella and short stories

WHEN GUNS FALL SILENT – 2010 – novel


THAT DEEP SILENCE – to be published


Awards & Achievements:

  • 2005 – State Literary award for non fiction – THE SUNSET YEARS
  • 2003 – Special award SAHITYARATHNA at the State Literary awards 2003
  • 2002 – State Literary Award – Fiction for THE UNBINDING
  • 1996 – Joint Commonwealth Prize for Short Story – ANOMA
  • 1994 – The Gratiaen Award – AMULET
  • 1988 – The Award KALASURI from the Government a State Honour
  • 1971 – GIRAYA adapted for television – and accepted as A level text in Sri Lanka
  • 1966 – THE WAITING EARTH – accepted as A Level texts in Sri Lanka and at the University Of Sterling, Scotland.