I just bought a copy of…

I just bought a copy of Ashok Ferrey's new collection The Good Little Ceylonese Girl. In fact, I ended up buying four copies (one each for me, my sisters, and my dad), plus three copies of his previous book, Colpetty People (for them), and one copy of Nihal de Silva's The Road from Elephant Pass (for me).

They're not available on Amazon -- I had to order them directly from Vijitha Yapa Bookstore in Sri Lanka. It made me wince a bit, paying the shipping costs -- the eight books together only cost about $30 U.S., but shipping costs from Sri Lanka cost another $60. Ouch. But really, that works out to only about $10 a book, and that seems well worth it. I thought Ferrey's first book was funny and delightful, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one; I think my family will like his writing too. And that review of the de Silva really intrigued me.

I've said this before, that in the whole authenticity debate, one way of addressing the concern that diaspora and other 'non-authentic' writers (or less authentic) from a culture are being taken as representative by the international audience is not to silence their writing -- but rather, to also strongly encourage the writing those embedded deeply within the culture. Let the chorus of voices ring out, and create a delightful counterpoint. Sometimes, that means paying twice as much in shipping costs as you pay for the books themselves. Seems reasonable to me.

As a writer, I feel like I have something of a moral obligation to support those local authors. Maybe I should make up an arbitrary rule for myself -- for every book I publish drawing on Sri Lankan culture, I need to purchase, read, and promote a hundred books by local Sri Lankan authors. And hey -- there's an extra benefit for me; reading those hundred titles can only enhance the accuracy and versimilitude of my own writing...

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