Fiction. Asian & Asian American Studies. Translated by Arundathy Rodrigo. This second volume in the Prison of Dreams quintet explores the disenfranchisement of Tamil youth in the face of growing Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. Rajalakshmi faces two options, whether to remain in her beloved little island, Nainativu, or to seek refuge in India. At the same time, as the idea of separatism grows, the movement begins to fracture through internal differences, and Rajalakshmi's beloved Suthan makes a decision that irrevocably alters their fates. As people begin to leave Nainativu, the novel shifts to mainland Sri Lanka and India and addresses the new challenges that face the scattered islanders.
Devakanthan (Bala Kumarasamy) was exiled by the war in Sri Lanka in the early 1980s and lived in India before moving to Canada. He lives in Toronto and is an active member of the Canadian Tamil literary scene as author and arts critic. He is a reader of Sanskrit and ancient Tamil, and has drawn from those influences in some of his works, such as Lankapuram and Kathakalam, being reimaginings of the Ramayana and Mahabarata.
HIS SACRED ARMY, the first volume of the quintet, won the Government of Tamil Nadu Novel of the Year Award (1998), and the quintet as a whole received the Tamil Literary Garden's Best Novel Award (2014).
Nedra Rodrigo was born in Sri Lanka and came to Canada during the civil war. She is a translator, poet, workshop organizer at the York Centre for Asian Research, and arts educator for youth in the York Region District School Board. She is also the founder of the Tamil Studies Symposium at York University. She is the founder and current host of the bilingual, inclusive literary event, the Tam Fam Lit Jam.
Nedra's poetry and essays have been published in various anthologies. Her translation credits include the poetry of R Cheran, Puthuvai Ratnathurai, and V I S Jayapalan in the collection Human Rights and the Arts in Global Asia (Lexington Books, 2017); the memoir In the Shadow of a Sword, published by SAGE YODA Press, India (2020); Kuna Kaviyazhakan's Forest That Took Poison, shortlisted for the inaugural Global Humanities Translation Prize; and the Prison of Dreams quintet. She lives in Toronto.