A passionate young writer: Thehan Wanasinghe

By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna 

Today on Little Stars is a promising young writer and a budding poet who has just started publishing a magazine named Mind Spark. This young writer, Thehan Wanasinghe, is also interested in photography, music, cricket, and cars. Mind Spark is compiled in collaboration with his former school Disraeli Primary School, UK and Horizon College International, Malabe. He intends to publish the second edition of Mind Spark soon.

Thehan, introduce yourself to our Little Stars friends.

I am 12. I was born in Buckinghamshire, UK. Currently, I’m in Year Eight at Horizon College International, Malabe. I live with my parents, older brother – who is an engineering student at Brunel University, UK – and our latest addition to the family: Rusty the beagle.

Living in Sri Lanka provides an excellent opportunity to develop my passion for wildlife-based photography. Having started watching Top Gear even before I could walk, my interest in cars has only got stronger over the years. I’m currently an avid car enthusiast and I like to put my knowledge of cars to the test on the go-karting track. Some of my free time is spent watching Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Planet Earth, and The Grand Tour. My achievements at school include receiving the Best Primary Achievement Results at the Edexcel Primary Examination and becoming the Under-10 Table Tennis Champion. 

I also play cricket and I’m an active member of the Interact Club. I’ve also learnt to play the thammattama and performed at our cultural show held at Nelum Pokuna. It was an unforgettable experience!

What inspired you to come up with Mind Spark?

My passion for writing started at a very early age. A couple of my poems were published in the “Young Writers Anthology – 2016” while I was at Disraeli Primary School.

Some time back, I made a collection of my writing in the format of a magazine and presented it to my current Principal. The encouragement I was given by everyone who read it inspired me to make a proper school magazine to offer a platform for all young writers to showcase their work. 

The students and Ms. Josie Mill of Disraeli contributed by sending articles written by them. Furthermore, our Principal Mrs. Maryanne Hills and our Chairman Mr. Upul Daranagama encouraged me hugely towards publishing the first edition of the magazine. A huge appreciation goes out to my English teacher for her valuable advice and to my friends for contributing in terms of writing interviews and comics! At the moment, I’m working on the second edition of Mind Spark with the theme of “Having a Growth Mindset During Corona”.

Did you receive any feedback on the first edition? If so, how was it?

Yes, I received a lot of positive feedback due to the variety of articles displayed in the magazine. The readers particularly liked the coverage of sporting events, interviews, fiction, and the articles from the children of Disraeli.

Who is supporting you in this venture?

My parents and brother have always been my biggest supporters, while my friends here and back in the UK are my best critiques. Both my current and former schools have been very co-operative and helpful.

‘In order to be a very good writer, you must read avidly.’ Do you agree with this statement?  

Absolutely! When it comes to being a writer, reading a wide variety of genres is amazingly helpful. Reading strengthens my vocabulary and grammar and gives me a huge boost to come up with fresh ideas for writing. Amongst the books that I’ve read, Holes by Louis Sachar, Billionaire Boy by David Walliams, and Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo are undoubtedly my favourites.

Can you tell us more about your passion for wildlife-based photography?

The influence for photography came from watching my brother, who’s a keen photographer himself. I got absorbed into the topic of wildlife by watching Planet Earth by Sir David Attenborough. I have also, with the help of my parents, contributed to sponsor the conservation of endangered snow leopards through the WWF (World Wildlife Federation).


Why do you say living in Sri Lanka provides an excellent opportunity to develop your passion for wildlife-based photography?

As a tropical paradise, our country offers a phenomenally diverse ecosystem and is a utopia for a budding photographer like me. Currently, I’m on a quest to capture an urban fishing cat on my camera at Diyawanna Lake.

What is it about cars that makes you interested in them?

The swift evolution of automobiles is an absolute joy to study. What really absorbs me into cars is how it can be seen as both a machine and a piece of art. My dream is to be a young car journalist, writing interesting columns and one day also to host my own automobile programme.

What is your favourite type of car?

Out of all of the cars I admire, there’s one that really stands out… this is none other than the Pagani Huayra! This car is not your ordinary day-to-day cruiser. It has a whopping $ 2.6 million price tag. This machine has a terrifying, 6.0 L twin-turbocharged V12 engine that produces 730 hp. The Huayra has a perfect balance of power, aerodynamics, and elegance. The stunning interior is as complex as a cockpit of a fighter jet! That’s not all, the Huayra has tonnes of interesting quirks and features. Its key is shaped as the car itself. Highlights include 1,400 titanium bolts each with “Pagani” inscripted on it. Furthermore, there is an oval theme in the interior of the car, going from the logo to the air condition controls.

What prompted you to choose the theme ‘Having a Growth Mindset During Corona’ for the second edition of Mind Sparks?

A growth mindset emphasises on how you can make the most out of a bad situation. I chose this topic because during the lockdown, children all over Sri Lanka were learning new skills, creating futuristic inventions, and developing new talents. I thought that making a platform to share our creations would be a fantastic opportunity to show how we, the children of Sri Lanka, are dealing with this strange and unusual situation positively. I’m also trying to publish my second edition as an e-magazine due to this outbreak. I will compile the magazine as soon as I get enough articles.