Dr. Martin Wickramasinghe - An Icon in Sri Lankan Literature
Being perhaps the greatest novelist in the history of Sri Lankan literature, Dr. Martin Wickramasinghe was an excellent storyteller, a fiercely independent thinker, an esteemed philosopher and a man revered for his profound wisdom. Though his work was focused mainly on Sri Lanka's society and culture, he explored linguistics, arts, philosophy, history, travel, evolution and religion in his writings, which consisted of hundreds of books and thousands of paper articles.
Koggala, where Martin Wickramasinghe spent his childhood years, is believed to have been the source of inspiration for most of his work. Bounded by the reef on one side and the Koggala lake on the other, the area of Koggala in which he was brought up had a distinct flora and fauna. This, along with the landscape, the expansive Koggala lake and the lifestyle the people of Koggala, had a great deal of influence on his work.
Martin Wickramasinghe was a pioneer journalist, and in addition to fiction, literary criticism, scientific and philosophical work and socio-political studies, he also shared knowledge on a number of subjects such as biology, archaeology, social anthropology and theory of evolution to the Sinhala reading public at a time when knowledge of such topics were quite limited. His genius found recognition internationally, and his work has been translated into several languages including English, Russian, Tamil, Hindi, Dutch, German, French, as well as Japanese.
Visitors to Koggala may visit the famous Koggala Folk Museum built in his honour. The museum depicts the story of Martin Wickramsinghe's life through a series of photographs, souvenirs, awards and different objects of folk culture acquired during his lifetime. It is located right in the middle of the Free Trade Zone, Northeast of the Hotel Horizon, and is open everyday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.