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Curriculum Vitae

 

Jane Vejjajiva was born in 1963 in London where her parents completed their medical studies. She returned to Thailand at the age of 3 and grew up in Bangkok. Having cerebral palsy from birth which limits her movements, she finds comfort from books which open to her an imaginary world. Her skills in languages led her to graduate with first honours Bachelor Arts (French literature) from Thammasat University. She then furthered her studies at Translators and Interpreters School (French, English and Italian) in Brussels. She started her career as a translator in a magazine publisher in 1988 before setting up her own company publishing and editing a magazine for children until 1995. She is now running a copyright agency, Silkroad Publishers Agency, which is known to be reliable and efficient.

She also works as freelance translator. Her translations include Seta by Alessandro Baricco, Le moine et le philosophe by Jean-François Revel & Mathieu Ricard, The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. In 1999, she was decorated Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the Ministry of Culture of France.

The Happiness of Kati is her first novel published by Preaw Juvenile Books, an imprint of Amarin Printing and Publishing, in December 2003. It will soon be published by Allen & Unwin in Autralia. Her recent work is Curious Little Lookjan: a young adult fiction with information on AIDS.

List of Works

Jane Vejjajiva
1963 born 27th January in London, England
Education
1981-1985 Thammasat University, Faculty of Liberal Arts, French Department
  (BA First Honour)
1985-1987 Institut supérieur de l’État pour traducteurs et interprètres, Brussels, Belgium
  (Translators and Interpreters School: French, English and Italian)
Work & Experiences
1988 Media Focus Company, business and children magazines publisher.
  Translator.
1989-1994 Founded New Friends Children Magazine. Executive Editor.
1990 Services Culturels, Ambassade de France. Script translator for TV program “Si on allait en France.”
1993 Winner of translation competition organized by the Ministry of foreign Affairs, French Government and French Embassy in Thailand. A grant to do research work at Literary Translation Centre at Arles, France.
1994 Co-Founder of Translator Club, Thailand.
1995 - Managing Director of Silkroad Publishers Agency
  freelance translator (see list of publications below)
  freelance interpreter for workshops and seminars (i.e. organized by the British Council)
1999 decorated Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from Ministry of Culture, France
List of translated works
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane/ Kate Dicamillo/ Pet & Home
  • Oscar et la dame rose/ Eric-Emmanuelle Schmitt/ Albin Michel/ Tawan Publishing
  • The Gift of Nothing/ Patrick McDonnell/ Pet & Home
  • Senza Sangue/ Alessandro Baricco/ Butterfly Book House
  • Tunnels/ Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams/ Workpoint Publishing
  • Vendredi ou la vie sauvage/ Michel Tournier, Editions Gallimard/ Silworm Books
  • Le journal de Zlata/ Zlata Filipovic, Editions Robert Laffont/ Silkworm Books
  • Le cri de la mouette/ Emmanuelle Laborit, Editions Robert Laffont/ Silkworm Books
  • The Dai Their Architecture and Custom in South China/ Zhu Liangwen, DD Books.
  • Le moine et le philosophe/ Jean-François Revel & Mathieu Ricard, Nil Editions/ Orchid Press
  • Selling Rights/ Lynette Owens, Routledge, Chapman & Hall.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire/ J. K. Rowling, Bloomsbury/ Nanmeebooks
  • Le testament français/ Andrei Makine, Mercure de France/ Amarin Printing and Publishing
  • A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence/ Peter Mayle, Escargot Productions/ Matichon Publishing
  • The Tale of Desperaux/ Kate Dicamillo, Pet & Home, 2004
Latest publications
  • Chasing the Moon – a sequel to ‘The Happiness of Kati’/ Amarin Printing and Publishing
  • Life in Colours – autobiography/ Amarin Printing and Publishing
  • 824 – original novel/ Workpoint Publishing
  • The Happiness of Kati – an original novel / Amarin Printing and Publishing
Interpretation works
February 2001 on Copyright in Publishing / The British Council Bangkok
June 2002 workshop on Editing Children’s Books / C. Bertelsmann Verlag and Kurusapa Organization
April 2003 panel discussion on IP Laws / The British Council Bangkok

THE HAPPINESS OF KATI Young adult fiction

Rights: represented by The Fielding Agency: wlee@fieldingagency.com
Catalan rights sold to Editorial Cruilla
English language rights sold to Allen & Unwin (Australia and New Zealand), Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster (USA)
French rights sold to Edition Gallimard
German rights sold to Cecilia Dressler Verlag
Japanese rights sold to Kodansha
Korean rights sold to Scola Publishing

Thai edition
Thai edition
Piggy Bank edition for
Thai market only
Available at Asia Books

‘The Happiness of Kati’ is the story of a poignant period in a life of a nine year old girl which takes place in three distinct settings: a traditional house on the klong (the Thai word for canal), a holiday bungalow by the seaside, and a family apartment in the city. Despite the idyllic background of Kati's home on the klong there are clues from the beginning that beneath the peacefulness of the surroundings there is an undercurrent of mystery and uncertainty. Why is Kati living with her grandparents? Where are her father and mother? The answers to these questions gently unfold as we share in Kati's feelings and observations about the world around her and the family members who spend time with her.

We learn eventually that her mother is suffering from a serious and incurable illness and we witness their final and inevitable separation. Yet despite the essential sadness of the story Jane Vejjajiva has managed to tell it in a way that evokes joy and hope, which makes the sense of loss all the more moving and convincing. Kati's spirited and courageous responses to the challenges she faces affirm the power of life. The final twist in the plot reveals Kati's developing maturity as she comes to terms with her past and faces the future with confidence and hope.

‘The Happiness of Kati’ is written for both adults and children. The insights into a child's thinking and feelings are simple and profound and free from condescension. The delight of the story lies in the details that Jane Vejjajiva gives out about life in Thailand; for example the joy with which she describes the process of preparing a meal, or the patterns made by sand crabs, or the vegetation by the river bank.

There are also many humorous moments in the interaction of the family members, in particular the two grandparents, which reflect a thoroughly Thai perspective and sense of humour. But even though ‘The Happiness of Kati’ feels Thai in flavour and atmosphere, the central themes of separation and reunion, loss and renewal are universal. The author has managed to tell this story without falling into sentimentality and at the same time she has succeeded in delicately evoking a certain spiritual and ennobling quality that accompanies the psychological journey of the child. This is what makes ‘The Happiness of Kati’ a remarkable piece of writing.

The translation into English by Prudence Borthwick deserves mention not least because the task of doing translation between these two languages is notoriously difficult as those who have attempted it will know. Prudence Borthwick has done an extraordinarily sensitive job. Only someone deeply acquainted with Thai culture and appreciative of its subtleties could have conveyed the local colour with such delicious accuracy.

‘The Happiness of Kati’ won the SEA Write Award 2006, the most prestigious award in Southeast Asia. The book is now in its 45th print-run with a total sale over 250,000 copies.

Australian edition French edition German edition

US edition

Japanese edition Catalan edition Laotian edition Taiwanese edition
   
  Chinese edition Korean edition  
  Click here to read an excerpt from The Happiness of Kati.
Click here to read an excerpt from Le bonheur de Kati.

CHASING THE MOON – A sequel of THE HAPPINESS OF KATI Young adult fiction

Rights: represented by The Fielding Agency: wlee@fieldingagency.com
French rights sold to Edition Gallimard
English translation by Prudence Borthwick available
Chinese (Complex character) rights sold to Ye-Ren Publishing, Taiwan

Thai edition
Taiwanese edition

This is the continuing story of a little Thai girl called ‘Kati’. The first one (The Happiness of Kati) described her life in the months leading up to the death of her mother through a rare disease. Now she is twelve years old and living in the same house by the canal with her grandparents. The grief that she suffers is still poignant and along with it there are some questions concerning her mother that constantly rise to the surface.

In this delicate period of emotional readjustment Kati is given loving support by her grandparents and aunts and uncles who gently help her to come to terms with her loss and sadness and also to learn more about her mother. It is very clear that her mother has had the wisdom and foresight to leave little Kati with the means to understand the things that she knew would be puzzling her; for instance why her father has never been present in her life.

As in the first story the essential sadness of the plot is offset by the powerful sense of continuity of everyday life which is filled with humour and also by the humaneness of the characters surrounding Kati whose quirks and idiosyncrasies are amusingly described. Also interwoven with the main story is a mystery that takes place in the local community involving an abandoned baby found in a temple and a Kati’s household member who mysteriously disappeared as well as her school teacher whose husband nobody had ever seen. Its resolution has a strong bearing on how Kati eventually comes through this difficult period of her life.

In Chasing the Moon Jane Vejjajiva has once again given an extraordinary account of the interior world of a little girl that avoids sentimentality on the one hand and heavy handed analysis on the other. With great skill and compassion she has revealed the inner life of a child with such vividness that both children and adults will be moved. With a sure touch she has managed to describe both the wonderment and the puzzlement that a young adolescent experiences in a grown up world and the intuitive wisdom that is present as she copes with her pain. Kati’s thoughts and feelings all ring true.

The charm of this second story also lies in the background details that Jane Vejjajiva lovingly provides; many delicious moments in the kitchen where the grandmother prepares her old fashioned dishes; a temple fair; a stay in Bangkok; a visit to the seaside; and of course life on the canal itself with its particularly lazy rhythm. These are the landscapes in which the story unfolds and we see from the beginning that this is not a fantasy world that Kati inhabits but a real one in which there is death and loss, joy and shame.

Chasing the Moon is a remarkable work that leaves the reader wanting to know what will happen next to little Kati as she grows up.

Click here to read an excerpt from Chasing the Moon.

CURIOUS LITTLE LOOKJAN Young adult fiction with information on AIDS

Rights: world
English translation by Paniti Sutabutr available
Illustrations by Pattreeda Prasarnthong

Initiated by Working Group on Media for Children with HIV/AIDS under Thai NGO Coalition on Aids and Thai Network of People Living with HIV/Aids net with funding from UNICEF in Thailand, Curious Little Lookjan is a unique combination of fiction and fact. The book takes you on a journey through the eyes of Lookjan, a constantly curious eight-year old girl, who discovers the reality of living with an HIV infected cousin. Difficult questions about HIV and AIDS are explained in a manner which is easy for most eight-year olds to understand. But of course, some answers are left to be understood at an older age and do not be surprised if adult readers find the journey to be as much of an eye opening discovery as of Little Lookjan.

'"Curious Little Lookjan" is Jane Vejjajiva’s recent work. “Writing a book on AIDS for children is challenging. It deals with a sensitive issue with accurate information. The perfect blend of heart and brain is required. I hope that by reading my book young readers will have a better understanding of the disease and people affected by it. Only love and care will help us learn to live with happiness in this society.”


 

Paniti Sutabutr
Prior to the full-time mom career, Paniti Sutabutr was a management consultant for 6 years with a Bachelor in Economics from Wheaton College and two Master degrees in Economic Policy Management from Columbia University and Business Administration from Northwestern University. Now that Anna is 20 months old, Paniti is able to begin exploring her passion in writing short articles for family magazines and translation work of interesting short stories such as Curious Little Lookjan. The translation of Lookjan is uniquely challenged by the task to simplify explanation of a very difficult issue of HIV/AIDS that even adults do not understand very well. One had to revert back to the age of 8 years old when perspectives were of pure innocence. “I was surprised to find the journey to be an eye opening discovery as much as Little Lookjan.”
Pattreeda Prasarnthong
Pattreeda was born on October 5, 1976 in Bangkok. She graduated from Chulalongkorn University with a Bachelor Degree in Communications in 1996 and went on to get a Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Advertising from Falmouth College of Arts, and a Master Degree in Illustration from Brighton University in the UK. Pattreeda is a freelance illustrator. She enjoys illustrating for short stories, magazine articles, greeting cards, and various products. “For Curious Little Lookjun, I wanted to draw simple and colorful illustrations fitting to the story and inviting to children to want to read to the end without wanting to put it down.”

Click here to read an excerpt from Curious Little Lookjan.