Mag Events,Top Story l by Tina Edward Gunawardhana l 21 Oct 2022     - 79

Weaving words


Tucked away in Alpujarras, a small village south of Granada in Spain Brit Sri Lankan author Amanthi Harris beavers away engaged in writing novels which evoke fond memories of Sri Lanka


Words: Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Photographs: Maxi Kohan


Brit Sri Lankan author Amanthi Harris lives in Alpujarras, a small village in the mountains south of Granada in Spain where she spends

most of her days engaged in writing. Despite a Foundation in Fine Art from Central St Martins and a Degree in Chemistry and a

Masters in Legal Studies, it was a career in writing that beckoned to her. Her novella Lantern Evening won the Gatehouse Press New

Fictions Prize in 2016 while her short story In the Mountains was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her languid use of language evokes

memories of an idyllic Sri Lanka which gives the reader a yearning to return to a Sri Lanka once familiar to those of a certain


With qualifications in Fine Art, Chemistry and Law, what swayed you to dip your toes into writing?

I have always written, ever since I was a child living in Colombo, in Wellawatte. In those days I wrote plays and forced my cousins to act

in them and our family to watch us! It was when I finally finished studying Law and started to train as a solicitor in the UK that I realised

how much I wanted to write seriously and started to plot my escape, eventually becoming a bookseller in a small, second-hand,

beautifully literary bookshop and reading my way through from A-Z as

I organised the books, and writing for the rest of the time.


How long did it take you to complete your first book? 

‘Beautiful Place’ is my first published novel and took 10 years to complete.

I started writing it whilst at art college, and I carried on editing and re-writing through pregnancy and while looking after my daughter. I

finally finished it when my daughter went to school full- time.


What advice would you give to anyone who is working on their first novel?

Be sure of the story you want to tell and the way you want to tell it. For some years I ran a community art and storytelling project in

London, and as I learned to tell folk tales and fairytales, I saw how important it was to know the story at the heart of your writing.


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Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is the Features Editor of Hi!! Magazine. She writes on a variety of topics which include travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also a journalist for the Daily Mirror Life. An intrepid traveller, Tina likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno or email her at

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