VANAKKAM - No Way Back

Welcome to the world of "Vanakkam - No Way Back". Take a moment to scroll down and find out what "Vanakkam - No Way Back" is all about. Get to know the author and read about the impressions of the fantastic book presentation from September 2016. See the upcoming events and take a look at the images of archived readings and round table discussions. For those who want to buy "Vanakkam - No Way Back", in Switzerland it is available in various bookshops (see "Start") or go to "Shop" and place your order. If you are living outside of Switzerland, please order in "Shop" or online through Book Depository. Thank you for your interest and have fun reading!




Vanakkam is the traditional form of greeting in the Tamil culture. When meeting somebody, the hands are pressed together and a discrete nod of the head serves as a sign of recognition and respect.

This is a story of freedom and love based on true occurrences.


“Vanakkam – No way back” is a story portraying the journeys of two young people and experiences of fateful encounters. Stephanie leaves her homeland Australia in search of inner peace - Parthee is forced to flee from his Sri Lankan paradise due to a terrible civil conflict. The tracks they take lead them through trials of emotional and physical endeavour, during which they never lose respect and finally entwine in a way they had never thought possible.


 Eighteen-year-old Parthee must leave his beloved island paradise Sri Lanka due to a gruesome civil war. His ardous journey to Europe, where he hopes to find salvage, is paved with many difficult, often frightful, sometimes adventurous experiences; feelings of raw homesickness and dark fear continuously clutching at his heart.


Then he meets Stephanie.


Seventeen-year-old Stephanie has her own reasons for leaving her homeland Australia. Partly a lust for adventure, but mostly a need to eascape her troubled and broken family prompt her to take a chance and travel to the home country of her parents, Switzerland, in hope of finding peace. There she meets Parthee, an encounter which should change her life forever.


"The story Vanakkam - No Way Back is authentic, heart-wrenching and written with much empathy and sensitivity; a delight to read."




I was born in Australia in 1967 and now live happily with my husband and three teenage children in Switzerland.


As well as being a passionate writer, I also love being a mother and wife, working as a playgroup teacher and spending time in my garden and in nature.


“Vanakkam – No Way Back” is my first novel. It has also been published in German.







Visit at S-B-A School in Zug                                                                                                                      Student workshops  together with Amnesty International for the "Human Rights Day".



S-B-A    Schulisches-Brücken-Angebot
Ziegelmattweg 1
6300 Zug


  • MONDAY 11th till                                    WEDNESDAY 13th DECEMBER 2017          Exhibition table on the ADVENT SHIP of the Zugerseeschifffahrt                                            Landsgemeindeplatz, Zug                                    Monday & Tuesday 16.00 - 20.00                       Wednesday 15.00 - 21.00  (Christmas market opening 15:00)


Maybe you are looking for a special and valuable Christmas present? Come by and dicover my book "Vanakkam - Kein Weg zurück" in German and "Vanakkam - No Way Back" in English. I can read some passages for you or tell you about the adventurous journey I travelled until the true story of Stephanie und Parthee unraveled itself on the pages of my book. Barbara


Click here for more information:


  • FREITAG 22. DEZEMBER 2017  


Reading at the Firma Bossard AG Staff Christmas Party.




Firma Bossard AG

Steinhauserstrasse 70

6301 Zug



  • WEDNESDAY 14th March 2018 at 20.00                                    Reading by author in Schmiedgasse Buchhandlung     Schwarzenburg, Bern   

Details to follow!

ARCHIVE - Have a look in "Archiv" for more pictures!

WEDNESDAY 15th NOVEMBER 2017 at 18.30  

Reading by author with coffee and cake

        Arte mia Blumen & Café

Am Bogen 8

5620 Bremgarten AG

076 284 87 28 

On 15th November I will read from my book - Vanakkam - No Way Back - amidst beautiful seasonal flowers, accessories and gifts. The decorative environment of the florist and café together with my words will combine to captivate the guests as we travel through time and space with Parthee and Stephanie. Please come by and enjoy a piece of cake and a cup of tea or coffee while letting the read passages touch your heart and soul.




Many thanks to the Intercultural and Community Connections class of Mr. Hay in Baar for making me feel welcome and for the spectrum of interesting questions and comments which followed my two readings. During the first reading I introduced the different themes of my book. During the second we focused on children and war and talked about the Coming of Age ceremony which is an important part of the Tamil community.

tuesday 20th june 2017 - farmers wive's committee of geltwil ag

I was really happy to be in the midst of these warm-hearted country ladies and gentleman (thanks for the newspaper article) in the wonderful rural area of Geltwil Aargau. I'm happy to say the evening was a success for all.

Friday 16th june 2017 - Paettern Lightup Atelier


This was my second reading in Paettern only this time it was in English. For me it was extra special to be able to read in my mother tongue. The evening was enjoyed by all.


wednesday 3rd & 17th may 2017 - teehaus umami, cham

Umami Teehaus So varied the tea, so idyllic the ambiente.

Schulhaustrasse 1, 6330 Cham, Tel: 041 780 20 78 oder


Wednesday 3rd May, 07.30 pm in English and Mittwoch, 17. Mai, 19.30 Uhr auf Deutsch


Reading by the author

Travel with us through Sri Lanka, the land of Ceylon Tea, through Australia where Devonshire Tea has become a deep-rooted tradition and to Switzerland with its breathtakingly beautiful landscape.

 Barbara Gunasekaram reads from her debut novel Vanakkam – No Way Back. She describes the gripping tale of flight, love, chance and tolerance in which the young Australian Stephanie and the Tamil youth Parthee unite in a moving way.Enjoy the reading accompanied by scones, jam, cream and tea.


They were two fantastic evenings. Thanks again to all.


thursday 11th may 2017 - KAntonsschule Zug

I had a wonderful morning with Mrs. Graf's religion and ethics class at the Kantonsschule in Zug.

Thank you for inviting me, for the interest and the insightful round of questions after. 


tuesday 21st february 2017 - SENTITREFF IN LUZERN

 Welcome in Sentitreff

Baselstrasse 21

6003 Luzern


Tuesday, 21st February, 19.30 Uhr in the Sentisaal
Vanakkam – No Way Back


Barbara Gunasekaram read passages from her debut novel "Vanakkam - No Way Back" in collaberation with the 17th International day of the mother tongue.


"A wonderful evening. Many thanks to all!"

wednesday 1st february 2017 - st. johannes church

Reading by author with music and song.

Barbara Gunasekaram


Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 19.30 Uhr

St. Johannes church, St. Johannesstrasse 9, 6300 Zug


"Thanks so much to Monika und Sigi for the wonderful music and to Cassie and Alissa for your beautifully touching voices. And thanks to all who bought my book on this  lovely and successful evening." Barbara



I was welcomed to present my book at the Tamil "Olivala" (Christmas) party in Baar, Zug. It was a very special evening and it felt good to be part of the happy celebrations.


friday 11th november 2016 - Paettern Lightup Atelier


Passages read from "Vanakkam - No Way Back" in a mixture of English and German to an exclusive and very enthusiastic audience followed by a lively discussion and a small Apéro with snacks from three continents. An intensively spirited evening.


Friday 4th November 2016 - first friday in the library in zug


At the Round Table with theologian Bernd Lenfers and Barbara Gunasekaram discussing issues such as building up a new life in Europe with an Asian/Australian background, repercussions of war and flight on the awareness of every day life, the diversification of identity through intercultural and interreligious relationships and experiences of happiness.

"Home is not the place where you are, but rather the person who you are with."





On Friday 16th September 2016 a very interesting and lively book presentation took place in the parish hall of St. Johannes church in Zug. The hall very quickly filled up with a huge number of friends, neighbours, relatives and generally interested people.


Barbara Gunasekaram, who lives with her husband and three teenage children in Zug, presented her debut novel „Vanakkam – No Way Back“. The book, written in the form of a novel, is based on a true story of two young people who are forced to travel across the continents from their home countries Australia and Sri Lanka in search of peace and security, which they eventually find in an unexpected place. Barbara read passages of war, homesickness, tragedy, longing, adventure and love, the words dancing around the room as the evening unfolded.


The texts read by the author were accentuated by expressive Tamil dances and songs from three continents – a colourful, inspiring programme.


Impressions of the author


Unbelievable! The parish hall was packed to the brim with over 200 people who had come to see me and to get to know my book. I had expected no more than 50!! During the next 90 minutes the guests were swept away on a magic carpet ride of moving words, fantastic colours and exotic melodies. They were seized with wonder at the performances of the two Tamil dances, the lyrics and strain of the Tamil song, the haunting Irish and Australian songs – sung by my two daughters – and the passages read from my book. Through the whole very moving presentation, the rustling sound of tissues being taken out of bags in order to wipe away tears of pleasure and tears of sympathy could be heard coming from the audience.


Afterwards the guests were invited to enjoy a fabulous Apéro-Buffet of rolls, cutlets, pappadam, keseri from Sri Lanka, chocolate-chip-cookies made (by me) from an Australian recipe, traditionally Swiss ham croissants and litres of wine, mineral water and orange juice. Good thing my husband, who made the buffet, always cooks and buys too much. At the end there was not one crumb left over!


I had no chance to enjoy any of the Apéro. The queue of people standing in line to buy a book from my son, who was cashier for the night, and then coming to me for a dedication, just grew and grew.  When finally I signed my name in the last book, it was almost 11.00 p.m. and the hall was nearly empty. The whole evening had been a truly overwhelming and successful experience for me.


For more pictures and a short film see "Archiv"