S Godage: Godsend for the writers | Daily News


S Godage: Godsend for the writers

He had humble beginnings as a bookbinder. He later evolved into the book trade. Today he is S Godage who has continuously won the State Literary Award allocated to the publisher with the highest number of publications. This is his 34th consecutive year.

The book publishing was limited to less than 15 publishers. The publishers were a disorganized lot in the mid-1970s. Godage secured the attention of all in the trade by publishing GB Senanayake's books. This writer penned that episode to a weekly back then. The article earned Godage the attention of the elite who queued to get their works published.

The rest is history but Godage maintained his down-to-earth spirit ensuring ease of access for the budding authors. He was never reluctant to offer them a helping hand and open doors of the world literature.

The writings in Sinhala and Tamil medium had no proper the editorial process. Only a few authors had linguistic prowess. S Godage attracted the fictionists spread across novels, short stories and poems. All that they required was simply to get their works published. The amateur writers toyed with a slogan: “Never mind the payments... Sir, please publish it!' If the book managed to rake in sales, the very authors were the first to complain. Then the wording was different: “He hasn't paid me a cent!”

Yours truly is familiar with such authors who had their first book published in the Godage premises, and later turned unfaithful in quite a harsh manner! A certain dramatist friend of mine was once had to grapple without money. He was already burdened with an advance to a rented house to be paid. I took him to our protagonist who readily dished out the required amount without even checking the manuscript. The dramatist became a leading scribe at the Godage firm.

Godage’s career was not without criticism. He was loathed for printing books on demy paper. Worse, the books were bound the cheapest possible way. But Godage knows his onions. He had a purpose. He wanted to bring the selling price down. Gradually, the Godage publications earned reputation as a quality publisher.

He treated the authors, young and old, alike. Most works came in print in a limited number of copies. Godage thus accomplished their wish. They were eternally grateful to them albeit with a tad of criticism at times.

Sirisumana Godage became a leading publisher. He also became the leading book supplier in the 1980s and 1990s. Godage was an exemplary icon in the book world of Sri Lanka. Still, a single-handed enterprise, S. Godage's service goes to the nation as unique next to the State Literary Awards.

It is none other than the Godage National Literary Awards that recognises works printed in Sinhala, Tamil and English mediums. This is the 17th consecutive year.

S Godage deserves the title he was conferred upon a few years back. Deshabandu he is, as Godage is a true patriot of Sri Lanka.

Visit Kapruka.com Sri Lanka's Largest online shop. Over 125,000 unique categories such as Fresh Flowers, Cakes, Food, Jewllery, Childrens Toys and other Sri Lankan e-commerce categories. Low delivery cost to most cities here and free delivery in Colombo.

Add new comment