Shortlisted for the Gratiaen Prize in 2005; Long listed for the Dublin Impac Prize in 2010
Do you remember when you first fell in love? Do you remember the unrestrained joys and plummeting sorrows of adolescence? Do you remember the confrontation that each new day brought? Enter Kala's life. This sensitive novel about first love and heart break is a complex bitter sweet coming of age story that looks at the modern urban Sri Lankan youth in a new and fresh way. Shehani Gomes navigates us through the perilous and uncharted waters of the young adult, in her exceptionally perceptive debut novel that takes an honest look at a young woman's challenges and triumphs in life.
'If all this outpouring of her creativity found form in a first novel, one hopes for more writing in print from Shehani' – Lakmali Gunwardana
'The book is honest and alive, and its voice, Gomes's voice, is as confident as any young female writer I have read recently...Learning to Fly is more than brave in its formal experimentation. But its strange and, sometimes, difficult structure is not simply an exercise in avant-garde literary practice, but a form that allows the content, the messiness of the protagonist's struggle, to become themselves amidst death and conflict and discrimination, to mirror the novel's setting's own troubled journey towards selfhood' – Vincent Poturica
'Definitely not your average adolescent love story. Shehani Gomes' debut novel- Learning to Fly, having been nominated for the Gratiaen Award of 2005, takes a look into the darker, less explored aspect of adolescence and first love...Shehani's unique writing style complements the way in which characters have been brought to life...She not only grips the reader but makes the reader think, analyze, re-read and analyze again, making her debut novel a very stimulating read- one which brings us to hope for more from her in the very near future' – Tahnee Hopman