Tuesday 12th December 2017
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Tamil Writers: Song of the Sun God by Shankari Chandran

Shankari Chandran was raised in Canberra, Australia. She spent a decade in London, working as a lawyer in the social justice field. She eventually returned home to Australia, where she now lives with her husband, four children and their cavoodle puppy, Benji.

In January 2017, she published her first book with Perera-Hussein, Song of the Sun God. Her second book, titled The Barrier, will be published by Pan Macmillan Australia in June 2017. It asks, what would happen to the world if an Ebola pandemic and religious wars converged? Shankari is now researching her third book, a work of fiction also set in Sri Lanka, because she can’t leave the place alone.

The Song of the Sun God spans three continents and three generations of a family that remains dedicated to its homeland, whilst learning to embrace its new home. This deeply moving saga is about the wisdom, mistakes and sacrifices of our past that enable us to live more freely in the future. It is about finding home and forgiving family.

Nala and Rajan, a young couple, begin their married life in 1946, on the eve of Sri Lanka’s independence from Britain. Arranged in marriage, they learn to love each other and protect their growing family, against the backdrop of increasing ethnic tension. As the country descends into a bloody civil war, Nala and Rajan must decide which path is best for their family; and live with the consequences of their mistakes.

My first novel, Song of the Sun God, is a story of three generations of a Sri Lankan family, the choices they make to survive the civil war and the consequences of their choices.

It weaves together themes of family love, duty to our children vs duty to our homeland and the moral compromises made during war.

During our 26-year civil war, the Sri Lankan army used sexual violence as a weapon of war. The most common victims were women, often young women and girls. These chapters were the hardest for me to write.

I have a 13-year-old daughter and three younger sons.

This book is my love letter to my ancestors – a record of the sacrifices they made so that their children could have better lives. A record of our communal history and memories.

It is also a gift to my children. I don’t want them to turn away from the cruelty of the world. They must understand the context of ugliness in which great beauty and courage exist.

I want you to read about these Tamil people. You will see all the people of your own family in them. You will see your non-Tamil friends in them because the strength of people transcends culture and geography. I hope that you will see yourselves in this family. You will grieve with them but you will also laugh and be uplifted by them.

Thank you so much for reading my novel,

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