Wordsmith par excellence
Dr Lester James Peries presents: A collection of articles by Ajith
Compiler: Kathya de Silva
Publication: Lake House
Price: Rs 480
It is finally here! A collection of articles of the master wordsmith
of yesteryear, Ajith Samaranayake, has been gathered, categorized by
subject and woven into the pages of this slim-bound volume presented by
Lake House publications.
Interestingly it is another master, the doyen of Sri Lankan cinema
and former journalist, Dr Lester James Peries, who had taken on this
much needed task of paying homage to Samaranayake. Locating
Samaranayake’s finest pieces of writing from the archives is a time
consuming task but one he had taken on with much dedication. And the
final result is that the book speaks for itself.
It had added to the value of the late journalist’s work by proving
that he is indeed among a few whose work should not go unnoticed beyond
24 hours after publication but needs to be reread and quoted over and
over again. Samaranayake’s work has universal appeal. He was praised for
his simple yet effective style which managed to touch the hearts and
minds of individuals from all walks of life.
Penning on a variety of topics from politics to less serious matters
connected with everyday life, the gifted writer drove home his message
in a subtle yet effective manner. His Sunday Essay was one of the most
looked forward to pieces of writing among the readership of the country
during that period.
As Dr Peries rightly points out in his forward, Samaranayake had
three qualities in his work: irony, witticism and the power to hold the
readers in his grip clichés. Often one would read his articles a second
or even a third time and maybe even more than that.
His work is an example not only to budding young journalists but also
individuals from diverse fields because of its timeless nature and
They also speak volumes about his character: his fearlessness to air
his views and speak his mind as well as his ability to manipulate the
English language in the most influential manner. Dr Lester James Peries
presents: A collection of articles by Ajith Samaranayake comprises 40
articles written by the veteran journalist while he was attached to the
The collection has been categorized into four themes: whirlpool of
politics, anecdotes, aesthetics and tribute to the mentors by the
compiler, Kathya de Silva.
Samaranayake’s untimely death is a great loss to the nation but his
work, now brought together within these pages is a fitting tribute to
this extraordinarily humble being. As the great English writer William
Shakespeare once wrote in his sonnet 18:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
- Ruwini Jayawardana