Venpaa (வெண்பா) in Tamil refers to a branch of classical Tamil poetry. Venpaa is the first concept bookstore in Jaffna solely dedicated to providing the best Tamil books published in different parts of the world in one place. The physical outlet is in Hindu College Road, Jaffna, Opposite to Jaffna Hindu college Playground’s entrance. It is noteworthy that ours is the first online platform in Sri Lanka where you can buy world-wide Tamil publications. The online platform can be accessed at www.venpaa.lk.
The creative mind behind this innovative bookstore is a 30-year-old young man named Sudharshan Subramaniam. Sudharshan was born and raised in Jaffna. As a child, he had experienced war first-hand. He grew up listening to the stories of war from his grandmother and one story which affected him the most is the burning of Jaffna public library which is one of the reasons behind the creation of Venpaa. His family was forced to leave their home in Jaffna during the war in 1995. Sudharshan and his family arrived in Colombo through a life- threatening journey. Ever since he left Jaffna, his mind is set on doing something for his people.
Sudharshan is an avid reader and a writer himself. His writing speaks directly to the soul and portrays the most intricate and nuanced human emotions. As a voracious reader, he always felt the lack of availability of good Tamil books in Sri Lanka. What he lacked, he wanted the next generation to have it. As a result, the dawn of Venpaa is the successful outcome of this young man’s dream to provide the best for the Jaffna community in the form of books. The selection of books in Venpaa is chosen by this writer/director and his expert team. Within one year of opening Venpaa, he has achieved what he strived hard throughout his early twenties; a concept bookstore for the Jaffna community. Born into a middle-class family, he made his dream come true through dedication and hard work.
The physical outlet of Venpaa is not luxuriant but rather serene and soothing. Set in a beautiful space, it gives you an invigorating feel as you enter. The interior details of this bookstore are minute, thoughtful and excellently designed. The books are arranged based on the genre and what more; they are beautifully placed in wooden shelves. Books and wooden shelves go hand in hand as beautiful companions, and this is one such minute detailing you can find in Venpaa.
A bookstore of this sort, where everything is carefully handpicked fulfills the void that prevailed in the Jaffna peninsula in terms of book buying. The Jaffna community which had seen the ravages of war for three decades is in the process of recovering and healing through resilience. This happens through learning, understanding and knowledge sharing. Valuable books are the dire need of the younger generation in Jaffna and Venpaa works towards fulfilling this need by prioritizing the availability of best Tamil books.
One of the goals of Venpaa is to enhance the creative intelligence of the youth. In order to achieve this, the availability of good books which can develop critical thinking and critical reading skills is inevitable. Good fiction builds the creativity of the readers and moulds their thought process in a progressive line. For this purpose, books in Venpaa are chosen through scrutiny. These books are not limited to one genre but diverse. They range from Fiction, Non-fiction, Children’s books, Tamil classics, Science fiction, History, Philosophy, Spirituality to Tamil Translations of World literature and many more.
Venpaa is an online bookstore that is conceptualized to offer world-wide Tamil books in one place. The core idea to create a connective platform between the ardent readers and the writers culminated in the creation of Venpaa as a unique bookhouse that prioritizes in offering the best for the readers.