Remembering Talangama Premadasa | Daily News
The 35th Death Anniversary

Remembering Talangama Premadasa

Three decades have gone since the demise of the veteran Sinhala writer Talangama Premadasa (1932 – 1986). During the short span of life, he was seen engaged as an editor of two Sinhala children’s periodicals: Sukiri and Yahalu.

Quite apart from this venture, he was also a translator of 100 fairytales titled as Jagat Surangana Ketikatha Seeyak which paved the way for him to win one of the prestigious UNESCO awards. He also brought out a number of children’s classics like Alice in Wonderland.

As far back as the late 50s, Premadasa started his broadcasting career via the Sinhala Children’s Programma of U A S Perera (Siri Aiya) where he was one of the most resourceful contributors. Most of his scripts came to be compiled as Batahira Lekhakayo. He was an avid contributor to the Sinhala Poet’s Corner, Padyavali, during the 60s. This enabled him to collect more than 100 poems to bring out a collection titled as Padya Tarangani. His poetic skills paved the way for him to be a popular lyricist.

Some of the popular songs, sung by singers such as Victor Ratnayaka and Somatilaka Jayamaha, enveloped his compositions. Another skill he possessed was that of the film scriptwriting. To his credit, he had two award-winning scripts written over the years. His interest in culture and history helped him write one or two popular books on people and customs around the world. His last contribution thus came to be titled as Rata Ratawala Sirit Virit. Perhaps his indefatigable nature as a researcher cum translator made him look like a human writing machine, comparable to Isaac Asimov.

As time passed, he devoted most of his time to write novels and short stories titled as Cheena Madhusamaya and Mihiri Paetuu Adare. Although he was a busy writer, one of his main wishes into life happened to be the bringing up of his son and the daughter, Udaya and Madhubhani. They are instrumental in the promotion of his books to the more modern readers who have not had the opportunity to taste the flavour.

Udaya and Madhubhani have reprinted some of these traceable articles that came to be printed in various newspapers and periodicals. When the publishing firm known as Saman came to be, Talangama Premadasa was one of the most wanted writers of the day.

When Saman publishers launched the first children’s monthly journal Udaya, Talangama was the most known contributor. As I remember him, he toiled hard to bring out a copy in handwriting as he did not even use a typewriter. The computer was not even introduced at the time when he was most active.

We remember Talangama fondly as an affectionate companion in the world of letters.

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