5 books set in Sri Lanka

Whether you enjoy armchair travelling by being captured by captivating tales or like to read up on a destination before you visit in real life, these five books set in Sri Lanka offer a glimpse into this fascinating country.




Running in the Family

Author Michael Ondaatje, who also wrote the novel The English Patient, creates a fictionalised memoir with Running in the Family, telling the story of a Dutch-Ceylonese family and the main character’s return to Sri Lanka in the late 1970s.


This Divided Island

Written by an Indian journalist, This Divided Island shares insight into the Sri Lankan War, which still affects contemporary life and culture as it only ended in 2009.



Contemporary Sri Lankan writer Ashok Ferrey weaves a story about Piyumi Segarajasingham, a young barrister in eighties London, returning to Colombo after she gains responsibility for her family’s share of an inheritance, the servants’ quarters of a house her other relatives want to sell.


Island of a Thousand Mirrors

From another contemporary Sri Lankan writer, Nayomi Munaweera, Island of a Thousand Mirrors follows the story of a Sinhala girl and a Tamil girl sharing a younger perspective of the conflict between the two respective cultures.


The Tea Planter’s Wife

Set in 1920s Ceylon (the former name for Sri Lanka), this best-selling novel involves a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and moves to Ceylon only to discover he’s keeping secrets about his past.