‘Phanom Tian’, king of jungle tales, dies at 89

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Chatchai Wisetsuvarnabhumi, who delighted generations of Thai readers with his popular adventure novels and songs, died on Tuesday (April 21) after suffering with heart disease. He was 89. 

Under his penname Phanom Tian, Chatchai authored “Petch Phra Uma” (Diamonds of the Goddess Uma), a series of jungle-adventure novels inspired by his travels and love of India. He was inducted as a National Artist in 1997. 

Born on November 23, 1931, in the southern province of Pattani, Chatchai’s long writing career also yielded other celebrated novels, including “Massaya”, “Kong Kom” (Wheels of Karma), “La Ong Dao” (Stardust) and “Weaw Mayura” (Wishbone Flower).  

 He found fame as a songwriter, too, penning lyrics for the Suntharaphon band.