Jean Arsanayagam – Biography


Jean Arasanayagam (born Jean Soloman, in Kandy 1931) is a Sri Lankan poet who primarily examines the lives of people on the margins of society. Arasanayagam herself is familiar with being on the outskirts of society; first as a Ceylon Burgher (children from the inter-marriages of Europeans with indigenous people) and then as wife of a Tamil Sri Lankan who is of a different ethnic group from her.Jean Arasanayagam: “Writing is not for the celebrity status you place such importance on, it is not for self-glorification but it entails issues that emerge out of our entire surroundings and extends universally,” Jean Arasanayagam’s body of work:


  • Kindura (1973)
  • Poems of Season Beginning and a Season Over (1977)
  • Apocalypse ’83 (1984)
  • The Cry of the Kite (1984)
  • A Colonial Inheritance and Other Poems (1985)
  • Out of Our Prisons We Emerge (1987)
  • Trial by Terror (1987)
  • Reddened Waters Flow Clear (1991)
  • Shooting the Floricans (1993)
  • Nallur
  • ruined gopuram
  • mother-in-law


  • The Cry of the Kite (A collection of short stories) (Kandy, 1984)
  • The Outsider (Nagasaki University: Bulletin of the Faculty of Liberal Arts, 1989)
  • Fragments of a Journey (Colombo : WERC, 1992)
  • All is Burning (New Delhi : Penguin Books India, 1995)
  • Peacocks and Dreams (New Delhi : Navrang, 1996)

You can read Jean Arasanayagam’s poetry here