Yasmine Gooneratne's picture

Yasmine Gooneratne


Sri Lanka (b.1935)

Novelist, poet, and critic Yasmine Gooneratne, a graduate of Bishop's College, went on to graduate from the University of Ceylon in 1959 and also received a PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University in 1962. Gooneratne became a resident of Australia in 1972. In 1981, she received the first higher doctoral degree of Doctor of Letters at Macquarie University. She now holds a Personal Chair in English Literature at Macquarie University, which is located in New South Wales. From 1989-1993 she was the Foundation Director of her University’s Postcolonial Literatures and Languages Research Center. In 1990, Gooneratne became an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to literature and education and in that same year she was also invited to become the Patron of the Jane Austen Society of Australia. Gooneratne also had a place on a committee appointed by the Federal Government to review the Australian system of Honors and Awards from 1994-1995. Since 1995, she has had positions on both the Australia Abroad Council and the Visiting Committee of the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. In 1998, she became a member of Asialink. She has been a visiting professor or specialist at many different places around the world including the following: Edith Cowan University (Western Australia), University of Michigan (USA), Jawarharlal Nehru University (India), and the University of the South Pacific (Fiji). More recently she has won the Samvad India Foundation’s 2001 Raja Rao Award, and the 2008 Sahithya Ratna Lifetime Achievement Award.  She sits as a Trustee of the Pemberley International Study Centre, a foundation her husband set up in Sri Lanka, and is a Patron of the Galle Literary Festival. Finally she is the director of The Guardian Angels, which is an editing service geared toward new writers in Sri Lanka and Australia.

Yasmine Gooneratne is married to Dr. Brendan Gooneratne who is a physician, environmentalist, and historian. They married in 1962 and now have two children, a son and a daughter, and currently live in Colombo, Sri Lanka.