During our recent writing workshop, Claire Bell spoke on ‘What I love to read: a judge’s perspective‘. The first point she made was that a writer must forge a connection with the reader and the example she cited was from Anusha Atukorala’s story, ‘When healing doesn’t come‘.
Anusha was writing about chronic illness, which Claire does not have. What Claire identified with was the experience of heart-felt prayers going unanswered, seemingly so.
Anusha writes about how she came to submit her powerful story:
“I pricked up my ears when I heard about a writing competition called ‘Stories of Life’. Since God had called me to be a writer ten years before, most of what I wrote were stories based on everyday life. I can do that! And so I did. I wrote not just one but two stories. I sent them in, eager, joyful, anticipating success. I was sure of it. Aha! But pride goes before a fall, does it not? A couple of months later, I checked the Stories of Life website very excited, sure that at least one of my stories would be selected. I was shocked at the outcome. Neither of my stories had made it into the anthology. I was so discouraged. I wondered if I could call myself a writer!
The next year, when the same competition was advertised again, I knew it wasn’t worth trying. After all, I’d proved that I couldn’t write a good enough story hadn’t I? But God kept whispering into my heart to try again. Eventually, I gave in. I had plenty of happy stories to choose from but He led me to write one about my struggle with fibromyalgia. It would be a voice for those who suffer chronic illness. A few weeks later, I had my story written and ready to send off.
However … as I re-read the instructions for the entries, it seemed that the stories they were looking for were ones in a lighter vein. Would my story fit?
I spent time in thought and prayer, and yes, there was no doubt about it. This was the story He asked me to write. And yes … surprise, surprise, this time, my story made it into the anthology. Hooray! What a fabulous sense of achievement it gave me, especially considering my failure of the previous year.
A writer’s world has perseverance stamped across it in big letters. My entry into the 2017 anthology proved it and I’m glad I listened to God. I’m so glad I didn’t allow failure to keep me from trying again. Whenever I think of my story that made it, a little orchestra of joy plays a tuneful symphony within. I pray that God will use my small offering to encourage others who struggle with chronic illness. Thank you Stories of Life competition for giving us an opportunity to share our stories. Thank you God that you fill our lives with story after story of your abundant love and faithfulness.”
Anusha Atukorala, 2 May 2018
We are delighted not only to share these pictures and Anusha’s backstory today, but also to congratulate her on the imminent launch of her book, ‘Dancing in the Rain’ – words of comfort and hope for a sad heart.
Anusha would like to extend an open invitation to her book launch (details below) and asks that anyone who can make it to please email her at email@example.com by Friday, 4 May.
‘Dancing in the Rain’ Book Launch
Date: Saturday, 12 May 2018
Time: 2 – 4 p.m.
Venue: Tea Tree Gully Memorial Building,
Memorial Drive, Tea Tree Gully, SA 5091