Veteran Children’s author Sybil Nanda no more | Sunday Observer

Veteran Children’s author Sybil Nanda no more

The beloved children’s writer and illustrator Sybil Nanda /Athamma is no more but will always be remembered and loved by all who read her books. She will live through her wonderful stories and drawings for her readers.

Kala Keerthi Sybil Wettesinghe (nee de Silva) passed away on July 1 while receiving treatment at the Sri Jayewardenepura hospital. She was 93 years.Born in the village of Gintota, Galle district in 1927 she had her education first in Gintota and then at Holy family Convent, Bambalapitiya.

Around the age of 15 she started writing and illustrating stories for children’s pages in newspapers and magazines. At 17, Wettasinghe joined the Lankadeepa newspaper. In 1952, she moved to Lake House where she became the main illustrator of the Janatha newspaper. In 1955, she married Dharmapala Wettasinghe, a former Chief Editor of the Daily News.

In her illustrious career, Sybil Wettasinghe earned international acclaim. Her children’s stories secured awards, in Europe and Asia.

In 1965, her story Vesak Lantern won the Isabel Hutton Prize for Asian Women writers for Children. Her first book Kuda Hora (Umbrella Thief) greatly loved by children was written in 1952 for a children’s page in a newspaper and was later made into a book. It was chosen for the Best Foreign Book Award in Japan in 1986 and in 1987 it won the Japanese Library Association Award as the most popular children’s book.

Her book, Wonder Crystal entered the Guinness Book of Records this year (2020) as the book with the most number of alternatives.

Sybil Nanda wrote for over 70 years from the age of around 15 years till her death .

Thank you Sybil Nanda for all your lovely stories and drawings.

May you attain Nibbana!

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