Autobiography Dramatizes the Life Journey and Travel Adventures of Shelton Gunaratne
Posted on October 4th, 2012

Shelton Gunaratne, professor of mass communications emeritus, Minnesota State University Moorhead,

MOORHEAD, Minn.””…”Shelton Gunaratne, professor of mass communications emeritus, Minnesota State University Moorhead, has launched the promotion of his 1,000-page autobiographical trilogy with the assistance of Author Solutions Inc. of Bloomington, Ind.

 Gunaratne is a regular contributor to Lankaweb, which has published all the essays he subsequently included in the trilogy.  He started writing full time   after he retired as a professor in 2007. The trilogy looks at three different dimension of Gunaratne’s life.

 The first of the trilogy titled Village Life in the Forties: Memories of a Lankan Expatriate [ISBN 978-1-4759-3956-9 (sc)] is published by iUniverse Inc. Its 162 pages contain 28 village sketches unraveling the famous and the infamous characters of the author’s birth village in colonial Ceylon. The author uses his unique literary style to present an authentic picture of the rural setting that molded his personality. The author’s ability to extract humor out of ordinary rustic life will reward the reader exponentially many times the price of the book ($15.95). The iUniverse editors conferred on this book an Editor’s Choice award.

 The second in the trilogy titled From Village Boy to Global Citizen (Volume 1): The Journey of a Journalist [ISBN 978-1-4771-4240-0 (sc) published by Xlibris Corp.], highlights the author’s life after he left the village as a teen-ager and ultimately settled down in America. Priced at $19.99, its 275 pages contain two parts with 35 chapters.

  Part 1 of Volume 1 explicates how the author (nicknamed Weligama Podda), the protagonist narrator of this trilogy, went through a significant cultural transitions when (a) as he turned into a teen-ager he moved from the bucolic splendor of Pathegama to the big city blues of Colombo for his secondary education; (b) at the age of 18 he entered the prestigious Peradeniya campus of the University of Ceylon and self-specialized in the works of Charles Dickens with plenty of disdain for economics in which he was officially enrolled; (c) at the age of 22, he joined Lake House as a print journalist and wrote 26 village sketches under the pseudonym Arcadius in addition to his daily output as a Daily News reporter; (d) at the age of 26, he beat all his competitors to become the first Ceylonese recipient of a World Press Institute fellowship. Thus 1966, the year that Weligama Podda landed in NewYork for an 11-month traveling seminar focusing on Yankee-style journalism,marked his big transition from parochialism to globalism.

 The author quit his job as a Lake House journalist because he was intent on doing a doctorate in mass communication. He reached another milestone in his life at the age of 32, when the University of Minnesota awarded him a PhD, the first doctorate in journalism and mass communication awarded by any university to a native of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Thus, in 1972 Gunaratne transitioned from a professional journalist to a journalism professor. He taught at tertiary level in Australia, China, Malaysia and the United States. He gained a reputation for his scholarship in global journalism and international communication.

 He devotes Part 2 (About Bowers, Boats and Buddies) of Volume 1 to praise his early stay in America, where his American pals enticed him into the boating and snowmobiling culture of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. His escapades withYankee Doodles in Malaysia and Sri Lanka provide fascinating reading.

 The third of the trilogy titled From Village Boy to Global Citizen (Volume 2): The Travels of a Journalist [ISBN 978-1-4771-4238-7 (sc), also published by Xlibris Corp.] dramatizes the travel adventures of the author’s family. Since he first crisscrossed the oceans in 1966, his travel lust (tanha) has taken him to more than 50 countries and all 50 states in the United States.This volume (with 531 pages containing 74 chapters, priced at $23.99) presents the most memorable visits he has on record from the viewpoint of a journalist.

 Gunaratne brings a new approach to travel writing through this book. He illustrates that passage of time is no bar to create a travel feature of interest to current audiences. He updates many of the stories through online research. Thus, journalism majors who aspire to specialize in travel writing may use the travel stories featured in this book as a usefulresource. Likewise, journalists and journalism students in developing countries are likely to benefit from his insights after reading the experiences of a fellow journalist from the Orient. They will also learn the literary style that Gunaratne used in this book to unfold the drama in many of his essays.

 Furthermore, travel-inclined readers may also find Volume 2 to be a bonanza. Those who live on the West Coast””‚California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington””‚could discover offbeat places to enjoy in their vicinity by re-tracking the author’s routes. So could those who aspire to visit the incredible US national parks””‚Sequoia, Yosemite, Olympia, Yellowstone, Black Hills, Voyageurs, Big Bend, etc. The author also explores England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand. His long journey also includes Trans-Canada 1 from British Columbia to Manitoba. He has travelled into Malaysia and Sri Lanka as well. However, he focuses heavily on California, where he spent an entire year (1983) as an exchange instructor in Fullerton.

 All three books provide fascinating reading because they delve into minute details as Gunaratne unfolds the drama of his life, which includes his many travel adventures around the world. He extracted information from the diaries he meticulously kept from his college days in Peradeniya to his retirement. Gunaratne uses the techniques of dramatization in this trilogy to evoke humor, pathos, etc., and elicit reader interest among a culturally diverse global audience. It reflects his adherence to Buddhist/Daoist philosophy, which he also used as a guide to his principal scholarly work titled The Dao of the Press: A Humanocentric Theory.

 *To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.  To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (610) 915-0294 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

4 Responses to “Autobiography Dramatizes the Life Journey and Travel Adventures of Shelton Gunaratne”

  1. Asoka_Wickramasurya Says:

    Master/champion of self promotion. Oh poor kids, who ‘studied’ under him. Anyway, good luck with his new adventure!

  2. Arcadius Says:

    Public relations is nothing but self promotion and/or product promotion.

    The author uses this press release to promote his autobiographical trilogy.. The question of ethics doesn’t arise because the reader isn’t hoodwinked to believe that a neutral reviewer wrote it. The reader knows that he/she is reading promotional material.

    In today’s capitalistic book market, authors often have to promote their own work laboriously. Aggressive self-publishing book publishers are replacing the traditional book publishers.

  3. Asoka_Wickramasurya Says:

    I live in the 21st century and lived most of my life in the 20th. I remained, and will remain as “Asoka Wickramasurya”. It i s to show, wherever anyone sees “Asoka Wickramasurya”, he is none other than Asoka Wickramasurya, and no aliases. It is the way I was taught by genuine, honourable and classic academics, who can be called “true scholars”. It goes for the tutors too, who happened to be PhD candidates.

    The first point to get a peer review, in the case of an academic paper, is to publish anonymous in a scientific or scholarly journal. Therefore, it avoids personal bias. That is the only exception. The true scholars always value their birth names, till the end of their time. It is for the hard work they had done to obtain a PhD. True scholars value criticism of the audience. They do not engage in self promotion. It is not a surprise my wonderful teachers are poor and even can’t afford a holiday. They are there not to make a buck, but to enlighten the masses including the lay.

    Therefore I am sorry to say, Arcadius = the author = Shelton Gunarathne (‘whatever’ he may be). The days we took aliases to raise a point of view, in any subject matter, is dead and gone by centuries. We do not hide behind a so called literacy veil any-more.

    If any so called academics have forgotten in proper referencing, in any article, I can imagine his/her academic credentials, let alone being called an ’emeritus professor’. He or she will not even be worthy of a tutor. The first prohibition is, never to use Wikipedia as a resource, or for reference. This is the first sentence we hear in our first lecture by true academics and the first few words from our tutors who happened to be PhD candidates. It is always, primary sources, and peer reviewed materials, most preferably from reputed journals. Referencing from books follows. If to get a zero mark, use Wiki. If anyone wants to get expelled, copy and paste from allowed sources without proper referencing and giving credit, as it falls to the category of plagiarism.

    It is not a surprise these ’emeritus professors’ are from Junius Richard Jayawardene’s cheer group.

    Anyway good luck with your ‘academic’ aliases and the endeavour to earn/make a buck.

    I remain and will remain as Asoka Wickramasury, to the end of my time. This is the pride I gained from my parents, who are not with me now, and to the wonderful teachers including academics and tutors, who taught me well.

    Will always remain

    Asoka Wickramasurya

  4. Arcadius Says:

    The author published the original village sketches in 1965 under the pen-name Arcadius because the Ceylon Daily News rarely gave bylines to its reporters at the time. When these sketches were revised for publication in the Lankaweb recently, he retained the same pen-name for consistency. When the identical sketches were included in the first of the author’s autobiographical trilogy, he used his actual name as well as the original pen-name.

    The author has clearly stated that he wrote the trilogy in the journalistic tradition, not in the Western academic tradition. Until the digital revolution, the journalistic tradition.was to depend heavily on their “morgue,” the newspaper’s library of clippings. Now, the journalists have turned to online resources, particularly the Wikipedia, which is peer reviewed by ordinary people. Journalists use the free Wikipedia to get routine information.

    Scholars, on the other hand, are expected to go well beyond Wikipedia and dig into original sources. They are supposed to generate new knowledge by doing so. The academic hierarchy is likely to crumble the day it recognizes the legitimacy and accuracy of the Wikipedia entries. As Buddha said in Kalama Sutra, one should not bother about the source of the material information because it is ultimately the individual who can determine what is truth by logical reasoning .

    THe self-rghteousness and adulation of the critic who will never use “academic” aliases because of the pride he gained from his parents and his “wonderful teachers” implicitly reveals his immersion in self (atta) rather than his ability to think iun terms of asoulity (anatta).

    The critic has not understood that he has disparaged himself by self-promotion, the very trait he condemns in his so-called critique. May he learn to avoid invective and sarcasm in conducting a decent dialog. May he also read the author’s trilogy to understand its literary and journalistic merits and demerits.

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