Winning manuscript tackles modern spirituality

A manuscript written by Massey University's Rohana Ulliwishewa has won a literary award, prompting the judge to say, "if you were to only read one book in one's lifetime, this is the one".

Ulliwishewa, an Honorary Research associate at Massey University, won the unpublished manuscript category for the Mind Body Spirit Literary Awards with Spirituality Demystified: Understanding Spirituality in Rational Terms. 

Ulliwishewa said he was excited by the win and said it would help to get it published.

"The subject matter deals with spirituality in modern society and how people now seek scientific evidence to help find the meaning and significance of being spiritual. Spirituality has become separated from formal education and in turn society is becoming more selfish and self-serving rather than serving a community. It was my intention to write a book that helps to interpret spirituality in scientific terms."

Judge for the award Adonia Wylie said the works entered this year were the highest calibre she had seen since the awards began 12 years ago. She praised Ullishewa's work.

"Its clarity, its cogent use of words, its ability to cover the most abstract of topics seamlessly while staying fully grounded, completely clear and coherent makes it a brilliant work."

Ulliwishewa's academic career has spanned 30 years and he now lives in Palmerston North after working at Sri Jayewardenepura University in Sri Lanka, The University of Brunei, Wageningen Agricultural University, Leiden University and at Leeds University. He won $10,000 for the award and said he expected his manuscript to be published by the end of the year. 

"I have already started to write my next manuscript, which is about happiness and spirituality."

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