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Shehan Karunatilaka Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Legend of Pradeep Mathew (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Childrens Books

Please Don’t Put that in Your Mouth (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Shehan Karunatilaka is one of Sri Lanka’s most well-known novelists.

He initially became known for his 2010 published novel “Chinaman,” which brought him onto the global literary stage, as it won the Commonwealth Book Prize in 2012.
The work was also the winner of the Gratiaen and DSL Prizes and Wisden declared it the second-best cricket novel ever.

Years before, he published his debut “Painter,” which was his first manuscript, and made the shortlist for the 2000 Gratiaen Prize, even if it did not get published.

Karunatilaka was born in 1975 and spent much of his childhood in Colombo before he moved to New Zealand to study and then to Singapore Amsterdam and London for work.

In addition to his critically acclaimed fiction works his work on travel, music, and sport has also been featured on National Geographic, The Guardian, Conde Nast, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Wisden.
He has more than two decades of experience working for multinationals, ad agencies, start-ups, tech firms, and media houses across Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney, Colombo, and London.

In his twenties, Shehan Karunatilaka moved to Singapore and was a creative head at a major corporation there for a while.

Back in the day, it was common for many copywriters to have a TV show, novel, or screenplay on the side they were working on.

Like many young men working in copywriting during that time, he was working on something on the side as he was hungry to win awards.

Given that people were expected to work till ten or eleven o’clock most days, he used to sacrifice his weekends, so that he could write his novel. For a while, he was in that game until he quit his job so that he could have more time to write.
At the time he published his debut, he had quit his advertising gig and went to live with his parents, since he had an idea that he believed would make a great novel.

He had done well for himself and had some money in the bank and he ce could afford to take a break for six months to write. But this break ended up being three years.

When he self-published his debut, it did better than he expected and even became critically acclaimed and won some prizes.

However, it did not make enough money and he had to go back to working as a freelance copywriter.

In 2013, Shehan Karunatilaka went back to working in advertising in Singapore since by this time he was married and was expecting his first child.

After working for a few months in Singapore, they moved back to Sri Lanka as they had made quite a bit of money.

Shehan thought he would be better off freelancing when he could and often commuted to Singapore whenever he could, to work with the likes of BBH, Facebook, Y&R, Grey, and BBDO.
When he was not freelancing, he used to work on short stories and “Seven Moons,” which he did for several years.

He also started “Papaya Books,” which was a kid’s book business with his brother, even though nothing much came of that since it was for the most part just a fun project.
Things started changing when COVID hit, which meant that freelancing became almost impossible as planes were not flying and he could not get to Singapore.

Broke and in a panic, he started writing once again as a form of catharsis and ultimately published “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” in 2022.

Shehan Karunatilaka’s “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” is a work set in Colombo in 1990.

At the opening of the novel, we are introduced to Maali Almeida real name Malinda Albert Kabalana who is a compulsive gambler, closeted gay, and professional war photographer.
He wakes up confused and dazed and at first assumes that this is the consequence of the silly pills he loves to share with Jaki his friends.

But he soon realizes that he is dead and is in the afterlife, in a chaotic and crowded place, where he is subjected to precise lists of formalities and long queues.

He will be spending seven moons recalling his past life, roaming free, and completing the required formalities in the “In-Between” before he proceeds toward “The Light.”

Over about a week, he desperately tries to communicate with family, friends, or anyone who can hear him, as he needs help to complete an important assignment about the complex political and social situation in Sri Lanka.
Somewhere back in Colombo, some images could stop wars and bring down governments. These are photographs that some very dangerous people will do anything to get their hands on and the death of Maali is just the trigger for the chaos.

“Chinama: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew” is a work set in 1990s Sri Lanka where terminally ill sportswriter, alcoholic and W.G. Kuranasena lives.

Even though he is retired, he is taking on a last project trying to determine what happened to Pradeem Mathew, who has to be one of the best spin bowlers that ever lived.
But the man had gone missing after playing in just 4 Test Cricket matches for his country.

He works with Ari Byrd a neighbor and close friend and Jonny Gilhooley an Englishman who is also his friend that works at the British High Commission.
There is also another man named Kugarajah or Kuga who may be a government agent, gangster, or maybe a senior commander in the Tamil Tigers.

But getting to the truth proves difficult and while on his quest to find Pradeep, he meets people with some very interesting stories.

As a Tamil living in the 1990s, the background to the story is the Civil War between the Tamil Tigers and the government, even as his inquiries ultimately lead him into the shadowy world of sports betting.
As such, it is a work that also touches on the very critical importance of sports in society in addition to detailing the multi-layered relationship that Kuranasena and his wife have with their son.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Shehan Karunatilaka

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