Theliwatté Joseph’s writing career spans over six decades. Born in Hali Ela, Badulla on 16 February 1934, Joseph started writing professionally when he was in his 20s.
His work captured the life and culture of the plantation Tamils, the community he was born into at a village called Uvakattavalai. Joseph worked as an elementary school teacher in Theliwatte, the name he adopted after becoming a writer. He had also worked as an accountant at a chocolate factory.
Following the publishing of his debut novel Kalangal Savathillai (Time Does Not Die) in 1974, Joseph’s talent was recognised by his peers. His other works are Namirukkum Nade (The Land We Live), Nangal Paavikalaaka Irukkurom (We Remain Sinners) and Paaddi Sonna Kathai (The Story That The Grandmother Told). During his writing career, he published six novels, three short stories and an anthology of a detailed history of literature of the plantation area in the Central Province.
Joseph was the recipient of a number of literary awards including Lakkiya Chemmal Award-Hindu Cultural Ministry, State Kalaa Bhooshanam Award, National Saahitya Award for National Integration, Kamban Kalaga Award for contribution to Tamil Literature, Yaalpaana Literary Circle Award for the year’s Best Book, Mattakalappu Ilakiya Mantram’s Thamil Iyal Award, Godage Lifetime Achievement Award and Vishnupuram Lifetime Achievement Award.
An icon of Tamil literature, Joseph passed away at the age of 88 on 21 October 2022.
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