Ambalavaner Sivanandan

Ambalavaner Sivanandan

Ambalavaner Sivanandan

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Ambalavaner Sivanandan (born 20 December 1923 Colombo) is a Sri Lankan novelist, and director of the Institute of Race Relations, a London-based independent educational charity. His first novel, When Memory Dies, won the 1998 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, best first book, Europe and South Asia. He left Sri Lanka after the 1958 riots.

Background and history

He was son of Ambalavaner a worker in the postal system who came from the village of Sandilipay in Jaffna in the north of the island. Sivanandan was educated at St Joseph’s College, Colombo and later at the University of Ceylon where he graduated in Economics in 1945. He went on to teach in the Ceylon ‘Hill Country’ and then worked for the Bank of Ceylon, where he became one of the first ‘native’ bank managers.

On coming to the UK, after a spell as a clerk in Vavasseur and Co and unable to obtain work in banking, Sivanandan took...
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