Find out more about Romesh Gunesekera in this video.

Here are some of the facts. Feel free to use the bits you need for any publicity or information needs.


Romesh Gunesekera was born in 1954 in Sri Lanka where he spent his early years. Before coming to Britain he also lived in the Philippines. He now lives in London.

His early stories were published in Stand Magazine, London Magazine and Granta and his poems in the LRB, Poetry Durham and other magazines.

His widely acclaimed first novel, Reef, was published in 1994 and was short-listed as a finalist for the Booker Prize, as well as for the Guardian Fiction Prize. In the USA he was nominated for a New Voice Award.

Before that, in 1992 his first collection of stories, Monkfish Moon, was one of the first titles in Granta’s venture into book publishing. It was shortlisted for several prizes and named a New York Times Notable Book for 1993.

In 1998, he received the inaugural BBC Asia Award for Achievement in Writing & Literature for his novel The Sandglass. The previous year he was awarded one of the prestigious Italian literary prizes: the Premio Mondello Five Continents. In 1995 he won the Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award in Britain.

His third novel, Heaven’s Edge, a dystopian novel set in the near future was published by Bloomsbury.

Four years later Bloomsbury also published The Match hailed as one of the first novels in which cricket was celebrated, and a forerunner of the many cricket-related novels that have followed.

In 2008, a collection of his Madeira stories were published in a bilingual edition to celebrate its 500th anniversary of the founding of Funchal in Madeira.

His next novel The Prisoner of Paradise was published in 2012.

His most recent book, Noontide Toll, was published in 2014.

Romesh Gunesekera is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has also received a National Honour in Sri Lanka.

He has been a judge for a number of literary prizes including the Caine Prize for African Writing, the David Cohen Literature Prize, the Forward Prize for Poetry and most recently the Granta 2013 list of the Best of Young British Novelists. In 2015 he will the Chair of Judges for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

He has been a Guest Director at the Cheltenham Festival, an Associate Tutor at Goldsmiths College and on the Board of the Arvon Foundation for writing. For four years, until 2013, he was on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature.

Literary Awards & Distinctions

  • 2015 Writer in Residence, Ateneo University, Manila
  • 2015 Asian Achievers Award (People’s Award for Culture) 
  • 2015 Georgetown University Marino International Writer
  • 2015 Finalist Gordon Burn Prize
  • 2015 Finalist for DSC Prize for South Asian Writing
  • 2013 International Writer in Residence at NTU, Singapore 
  • 2009 Somerset House Writer in Residence
  • 2008 Scottish Book Trust Writer in Residence Isle of Jura
  • 2005 Sri Lanka Ranjana National Honour
  • 2004 elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
  • 2003 New York Times Notable Book of the Year (Heaven’s Edge)
  • 2003 Finalist Commonwealth Writer’s Regional Prize (Heaven’s Edge)
  • 2002 Marie Claire Book of the Month (Heaven’s Edge)
  • 2000 Long list: International Impac Dublin Literary Award (The Sandglass)
  • 1998 BBC Asia Aw ard for Achievement in Writing & Literature
  • 1998 Marie Claire Book of the Month 1998 (The Sandglass)
  • 1997 Winner Premio Mondello Five Continents Asia Prize (Reef)
  • 1996 Long list: International Impac Dublin Literary Award (Reef)
  • 1995 Winner of Yorkshire Post First Work Prize (Reef)
  • 1994 Finalist Booker Prize (Reef)
  • 1994 Finalist Guardian Fiction Prize (Reef)
  • 1994 The Economist Book of the Month (Reef)
  • 1993 New York Times Notable Book of the Year (Monkfish Moon)
  • 1993 Finalist Commonwealth Writers’ Regional Prize (Monkfish Moon)
  • 1992 Finalist David Higham Prize (Monkfish Moon)
  • 1991 Arts Council Writers’ Bursary
  • 1988 Commendation Poetry Society National Poetry Competition
  • 1988 Commendation the Peterloo Open Poetry Competition
  • 1988 First Prize the Peterloo Open Poetry Competition (special section)
  • 1985 Joint First Prize Stanzas 85 (London)
  • 1976 University of Liverpool Rathbone Prize in Philosophy


Romesh Gunesekera’s books


Reef, Granta Books, 1994

The Sandglass, Granta Books, 1998

Heaven’s Edge, Bloomsbury, 2002

The Match, Bloomsbury, 2006

The Prisoner of Paradise, Bloomsbury,  2012

Short Story Collections

Monkfish Moon, Granta Books, 1992

The Spice Collector, Empressa Municipal Funchal, 2008

Linked stories/novel

Noontide Toll, Penguin India/ Granta Books, 2014


The Writers' & Artists' Companion to Novel Writing (by Romesh Gunesekera & A L Kennedy),                                                                                                                                         Bloomsbury,  2015