Jann Weeratunga was born in London UK where she lived for many years. Then marriage took her to Sri Lanka and later life took her to the UAE and Bahrain. Currently, she lives in South Africa.
Her favourite books as a child were Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings which she read when 10 years old, and Adam’s Watershipdown – both books can still be found in her bookcase today, very thumbed through and loved.
She was a Primary School Teacher and a Scout/Cub Leader for 20+ years and advocates that this was a good stomping ground for finding out what children of this age liked. Conclusion Pirates and Dinosaurs! Latterly Rowling’s witches and wizards also feature in the top 3 topics, but always the cycle of pirates and dinosaurs can be found.
She became an NPO in Sri Lanka following the Tsunami in 2005. She had been residing in the country prior to this and on the 22nd December 2005 had been staying in Yala National Park. She waved to friends as they entered and she left, and that was the last time she saw them, as the wave took their lives.
Determined to help she then spent the next 2 years in Aragum Bay helping villagers where she could. Sewing machine and material to set up small cottage industries. Helping to rebuild a Montessori on higher ground – a place of safety where the children will always run to should another Tsunami ever hit. Providing hundreds of books to set up a new library at the school, and helping to rebuild a small B&B. She chose ‘her family’ as they were a mixed marriage (Singhalese and Tamil.) that no-one else wanted to help. to this day she is still in touch with her‘Sri Lankan Family.’
She spent a year in the Middle East teaching KG2 graders or little ‘uns as she liked to term them. She found this to be both challenging as well as rewarding and invaluable for the lessons that come out of her Toucane books.
Then she moved to South Africa where she still resides today in Johannesburg with her four dogs, overlooking a Nature reserve. Here she started to write seriously, resulting in the Polly’s Piralympics and Toucane Series’ for 4-7’s and middle grades. Hettie’s Series for younger children will be out in 2019.