Thiagarajah Arasanayagam was born in Jaffna, where he was brought up and educated before moving to St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. He comes from a family which was heavily involved in the arts and writing which exposed him to a diverse artistic tradition from a young age, and which instilled in him a knack for theater and writing from adolescence.
Arasanayagam is predominantly known as a playwright, but has published two works of fiction: The Lonely Rapture (2002) and The Singing of the Angels. His other publications include poetry – White Lanterns – Wesak 2011 – and three plays: The Intruder, Waiting for Kiruba and The Interrogator.
Arasanayagam was awarded the Gratiaen Prize in 2015 for his collection, White Lanterns – Wesak 2011.
Arasanayagam married Jean, arguably the most prolifically published Sri Lankan poet in English. His daughters Devasundarie and Paruvathi are also published authors. The Arasanayagam family has over the years cultivated a solid reputation as teachers of English Literature and theater in Kandy. Thiagarajah himself has been a prominent and much sought after educator in English.
His work often demonstrate a deep and penetrating social consciousness and political awareness and a focus on common human plight in his sensitive discussion of ethnic friction, class and caste-related complexity. His prose often reflect a theatricality which is informed by his close involvement with theater which is arguably his main strength. Arasanayagam is also a powerful reciter with a rich and variable voice and continues to perform and read in literary events.