Janaki Sooriyarachchi

Biography.....Janaki Sooriyarachchi

Janaki Sooriyarachchi is a very versatile author-illustrator in Sri Lanka, who started writing in her early childhood. She wrote her first book, a ballad, when she was 8 years old and her first book was published at the age of 14. Since then, she has authored over 195 story books for children.

The illustrations, computer graphics, as well as the music & lyrics for her children's song books, have also been done by the author herself.
Though she started her career as a banker in a private bank, she continued her hobbies in art and literature.

The ancestral home in the beautiful village, Puhulwella, where she spent her childhood with her maternal grandparents, was the breeding ground to Janaki Sooriyarachchi.

The house on top of a hill bounded by a huge garden edged by a paddy field on one side, and a rubber estate on another side, with the view of “Puhul Ella” the waterfall that gave it's name to the village, and the stream flowing beside the paddy field, was a Fairyland to her.

Being the only girl in the family, she felt lonely most of the time. Playing with her two brothers in their games such as climbing trees, playing cricket or sword fighting, didn’t fascinate her. Therefore she wandered around the garden looking for bees, birds and butterflies, sometimes sneaking behind them like a little butterfly and some times exploring and observing them like a little scientist.

Whenever she felt lonely, she sat on the stone steps in the rear side of the house gazing at the paddy fields and the waterfall. Ever since she could utter, she whispered songs, and ever since she could walk she drew on the wall and got scolded, most of the time. Nobody guessed that the little scribbler could have been a budding artist. No one guessed that among her whisperings there could be seeds of literature, that would win awards someday.

Being a child who loved to observe nature, she created her own stories, songs, in her own rhythm, looking at the flowers, trees paddy-field and waterfall, and murmured to herself and sometimes to the birds and butterflies, in the garden. In the night, she gazed at the night sky wondering about the stars and moon, hoping to become an astronomer oneday.

She picked up things fast and seeing her reading out her father's and grandfathers books and newspapers in her own language, her grandmother, who was a teacher, thought of giving her lessons on alphabet even before she was barely 2 years old.

Not only she was skilled in fine-art but also was clever in her school work. Her parents were very happy and proud of her versatility but were worried about her passion in art and literature. Therefore her mother and father did not encourage her in art, fearing that her endless enthusiasm might ruin her academic success.

However, commencing her path in literature she came up with her 1st story book at a very young age, without having the slightest idea about becoming an author.

Growing up, she entered Visakha Vidyalaya, passing her Grade 5 scholarship examination with high marks.  She kept on her writing and drawing, but not many knew about her talents other than her closest friends. Being a very shy student in school she never talked about her works.

Soon after the Advanced Level she began her career as a Banker and completed the Professional Banking Examinations within a short period.

Her passion for exploring in various fields, inspired her to study in various subjects including child psychology, architecture, history, classical music & dancing, music composing, poetry (Sinhala Kavi), wood carving, sculpture.

Much earlier in life, her grandmother inspired her to learn the household arts, such as cookery, gardening, flower arrangements, beautyculture, dress making and embroidery, dress designing, pottery and fabric painting etc...


She is a Visharada in Bharatha Natyam. (Bhathkande Sangith Vidyapith- Luknow)  She held her Arangethram, classical solo performance in Tower Hall Theatre, Sri Lanka.

She is also an undergraduate of Bhathkande Sangith Vidyapith- Luknow, following Visharada Examination in Hindusthani Music. She is also an Artist, skilled in many styles. Line Drawing & Painting, Cartoons, Wood Carving, Sculpture, Oil on Canvass are her favourites. An Exhibition of Oil on Canvass, was held at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo, in 2001.

Awards received…………

“State Literary Awards-2007” (Children's Literature-English)
Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka. “Bunka Awards -2005”
Japan - Sri Lanka Cultural Foundation

“State Literary Awards-2004” (Children's Literature-Sinhala)
Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka.

“State Literary Awards-2004” (Children's Literature-English)
Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka.






Janaki Sooriyarachchi Janaki Sooriyarachchi Janaki Sooriyarachchi