Wanted: Time Bombs of the Mind! My third collection of Ravaya columns

Promo note for my latest Sinhala language book, being released this week at Colombo International Book Fair to be held from 10 – 17 September 2014.

Kaala Bomba One Kara Thibe - by Nalaka Gunawardene (Ravaya Publishers, 2014) book cover
Kaala Bomba One Kara Thibe – by Nalaka Gunawardene (Ravaya Publishers, 2014) book cover

Award winning science writer Nalaka Gunawardene’s latest Sinhala book, Kaala Bomba One Kara Thibe (‘කාල බෝම්බ ඕනෑ කර තිබේ!’ = Wanted: Time Bombs of the Mind!), will be released at the Colombo International Book Fair that starts on 10 September 2014.

A Ravaya Publication, the book compiles 44 of his weekly columns named Sivu Mansala Kolu Getaya published in the Ravaya newspaper during 2013-14.

Launched in 2011, the popular column offers musings of a sceptical inquirer who sits at the intersection (or confluence) of science, development, mass media and information society. The University of Sri Jayawardenapura presented Nalaka a Vidyodaya Literary Award for the best newspaper column of 2012.

Written in an easy, conversational Sinhala rich in metaphor and analogy, Nalaka connects the local with global and also bridges sciences and humanities. The new collection touches on pharmaceuticals, organic farming, tobacco control, rationalism, citizen journalism and social media among many other topics.

“Lankan society today suffers from a major deficiency of critical thinking. Blind faith and sycophancy dominate our social, religious, political and cultural spheres. Whether writing on science, development or social issues, Nalaka Gunawardene comes up with refreshing doses of scepticism,” says Gamini Viyangoda, leading Sinhala writer and political commentator.

In his quest for clarity and reason, Nalaka talks to researchers, activists and officials. He also draws on his many experiences and global travels as a journalist and development communicator.

In his foreword, researcher and university lecturer Dr Udan Fernando says: “At a time when insularity and monoculturalism are being celebrated in Sri Lanka, Nalaka represents the endangered cosmopolitan perspective.”

Nalaka has dedicated this book to two giants of public science in Sri Lanka: late Prof Cyril Ponnamperuma (1923-1994) and late Dr Ray Wijewardene (1924-2010). “They embraced the best of East and West without losing their roots. We urgently need such public intellectuals today,” Nalaka says.

The book includes columns profiling the work of both scientists, including the Sinhala adaptation of a long interview with Dr Wijewardene.

The title is inspired by the words of Swedish economist, Gunnar Myrdal, who once said, “Books are like time bombs. If they contain ideas that are correct, then one day they will explode. And if they don’t, they will be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

The 300-page book is priced at Rs. 490. It will be available from leading bookstores, and at special discounts from the Ravaya booth during the Colombo Book Fair.

Sivu Mansala Kolu Getaya - columnhead in Ravaya newspaper
Sivu Mansala Kolu Getaya – columnhead in Ravaya newspaper