|Award-winning journalist and human rights activist. Current City-of-Asylum writer-in-residence.|
Sonali Samarasinghe is an award-winning journalist and human rights activist. Born in 1970 in Sri Lanka, Samarasinghe practiced law there for twenty years and worked as a journalist focusing on human rights, including government corruption and women’s issues.
For five years Samarasinghe served as editor-in-chief of The Morning Leader, a national weekly, and as columnist for The Sunday Leader, a weekly openly critical of the government. In 2008 she married Lasantha Wickrematunge, founder and editor of The Sunday Leader. Wickrematunge was assassinated in 2009, and his assailants threatened Samarasinghe’s household and family. Samarasinghe and members of her family left Sri Lanka and emigrated to the United States, where she founded the website The Lanka Standard (http://www.lankastandard.com). She remains its editor-in-chief.
Currently living in Ithaca, New York, she is Ithaca City of Asylum’s writer-in-residence, and Ithaca College has appointed her Visiting Scholar in Residence within the Honors Program in the School of Humanities and Sciences. She is working on a book about her experiences in Sri Lankan politics and media.