News article of Thisuri Wanniarachchi on the Daily News, November 2010

Thisuri grabs top honours with the pen

Prabuddha Athukorala

Being awarded as the best novelist in the country is every author’s ultimate recognition at national level. And there was no surprise as many of the household hogged the limelight in the recently concluded State Literary Festival for 2009 at Temple Trees.


Thisuri receives her award from President Mahinda Rajapaksa and National Heritage and Cultural Affairs Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi

In such a setting, it was 17 year old Thisuri Wanniarachchi who made waves in the art world by grabbing the top honors for best English novel – Colombo Streets.

Thisuri is one of the youngest to win a top award in a general category at the State Literary Festival since it began in 1957.

Speaking with her it was quite evident how she reached such heights with acumen truly beyond her age. Thisuri started writing at the tender age of 12. It was her mother Malraji Wanniarachchi – a writer herself having published a novel and collection of short stories, who was the main influence in Thisuri choosing this path.

Like her mom she first started writing in Sinhala, and wining the national short story competition held by Ranaviru Seva was a clear sign of her capabilities. Later on as she started to study in English medium at St Bridget’s Convent, this young artist switched to writing English.

After gaining confidence by writing scripts for school dramas she went on to publish a collection of short stories in English. Among them a special mention should be made of “The road to Horrowpathana”. Another classic by Thisuri, “The Wind” was awarded best English short story at the National short story competition organized by the Ministry of law reforms on tsunami rebuilding efforts. In addition, Thisuri has done freelance writing to Sunday Observer newspaper as well.

Thisuri was quite emotional in speaking about her novel – Colombo Streets, which has the backdrop of war torn area. In brief the story features a girl who is fighting with cancer with no hope of life about and her adopted sister from Kilinochchi area and how their lives revolved around Colombo. Brigadier Sunil Wanniarachchi – Thisuri’s father was serving in the army during the war period. With him she had visited the war affected areas few times and that experienced had a major influence on her writing this story as well.

Mostly working on nights she finished writing the novel in 3 months on March 2008. Since then till it was published in May 2009, Thisuri had been working with many renowned artists like Sumithra Rahubadda, Punyakante Wijenayake and Siri Almeida in fine tuning the book.

Colombo Streets has successfully completed first edition which is a true testimony to the novel and how it has captivated local hearts. Wining an award of this magnitude of this magnitude had never entered her mind when the book was first published. Thisuri made special thanks to Vijitha Yapa Publications for helping her with printing and publishing the book.

Her novel was recognized internationally as well. Impressed with her work, Kenyon College in Ohio, USA which specializes in creative writing, offered her a scholarship for two weeks in July 2009. Thisuri is currently working on a new novel and according to her the experience gained in US will definitely add spice to her story.

British School of Colombo has also come forward to help shape the future of this little star, in offering her a full scholarship to study ALs.

Thisuri completed OLs last year at St Bridget’s Convent and excelled in sports activities as well. She has a special love for tennis and has represented school basketball team for national level tournaments as well.

Her brother, a product from D S Senanayake College is also into the arts and drama field and is doing freelance writing to newspapers.

Thisuri mentioned having to meet president and spend time after the ceremony at temple trees as a very refreshing experience and has given her more strength to keep writing. And with her ultimate passion being excelling in film industry, don’t be surprised if you hear her name as a young film director in years to come.

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