Sarah Jehan was born on April 08, 1993 in Chilaw Srilanka to an educated family. Her late father Mohamed Thahir was a principal, justice of peace and former secretary of citizen committee of his district. While her mother Roshan Jehan a high school history teacher and once an election candidate of Chilaw Urban Council. She has two younger brothers named Roomi and Zaci. Her father is a native Sri Lankan Moor, having the Sinhala and Arabic ancestry with one of the best surnames Lebbaik which stands for Preachers. And her mother is of Kerela Indian (Malayali), Malaysian-Indonesian descent. Her maternal grandfather was an English teacher and an Arabic- Malayalam- English translator .her parents gave her the name Zihra Jahan which is a combination of Turkish and North Indian words, meaning bright dawn of the universe/world’s super star in believing she would shine bright in her future.
Due to the mixed heritage of her family Sarah is able to speak around five languages and is very fluent in English, Sinhala and Tamil. But she considers Malay as her mother tongue and Malaysian traditions and costumes as her culture in order to respect her maternal grandmother who told her bedtime stories and dragged her into the story land when she was a toddler.
As a child Sarah often watched Disney cartoons and listened to her grandmother’s fantasies, which she would usually relate to her brothers adding more of her own ideas. this special talent led her to win the country wise second place for creative story telling in national Tamil language day at the tender age of ten in 2003.in the same year she passed out the government primary scholarship examination with a leading marks and became her district fifth winning an admission to one of Sri Lankans biggest ladies schools “Muslim Ladies college” to persuade her middle school studies.
Continuous bullies and threats from her class mates made her sick and to refuse her scholarship. Later she continued to study at Ch/Nazriya central college in which her father was the principal changing her medium of studies from Tamil to English. But the sudden change of languages made her to face a vast number of challenges as she wasn’t much fluent in English and students of English medium seemed much competitive.
At the same year Sarah won many local talent competitions in storytelling and recitations and got a higher attention amidst the Chilaw folks. This growing ambition began to isolate Sarah from her middle school peers.
After receiving her 11th birthday present Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone story book from her father, Sarah felt sure that she should start to pursue her writing career in English. As an attempt she wrote her first poem “Nature Trail” and got it published in a local kid’s magazine named Funday Times and wrote her first short story “Praise the Lord” too. In the same year she won country wise 3rd place for oratory in English at the national Islamic speech competitions in 2004.this victory made Sarah to love English and soon she started to show her colors in her studies too, as English became her favorite language.
At the age of twelve, Sarah started to write a number of poems in English. Her poem “My ball point pen” got high positive reviews by many of the educated personalities after it got published in one of her father’s personal projects. In 2005, once again she got selected for the national Tamil language day competitions this time in oratory section and won country wise 3rd place by defeating hundreds of competitors all around the country.
The continuous country wise victories made her much eager to participate in many similar competitions. Sarah started to collect certificates and medals as her favorites past time activity. And in 2006 at age 13, she won the country wise national Islamic speech competition. The fear of competing with thousands of country wise similar kids started to totally drift away from her by the time.
Getting more exited bout her victories she started to develop her other hidden talents too. Sarah who won gold medal in a provincial karate competition when she was just 7, started to improve her martial arts in order to gain a black belt from the karate do federation but her sudden interest on music made her to stop her interest on sports when she was 14. She started to attend Karnataka music classes and vocal lessons, and won a local singing competition. In the same year 2008,She wrote he debut song lyric “full moon” and won district 1st place in national district level literary art completions’ and she won country wise second place and an award for her short story “sad surprise” in national level literary art competitions conducted by the Sri Lankan cultural affairs ministry. This made a great success in Sarah’s budding writing career and she planned to publish a book on her 15th birthday. After a lot of planning she started to do researches for her debut book Jazz Up. But as a sudden accident her father got cancer and Sarah’s family got struck financially as they spent a lot in her fathers treatments. And her idea of publishing the book faded away.
In 2009 at age 16, she wrote another short story named “Back Again” thinking of her father who passed away in the same year. This story too won country wise second place in National literary art competitions and won an award by the Sri Lankan ministry of cultural affairs. Sarah received good reviews from the critics and was asked to turn her short story in to a book so it could be later adapted in to a movie as her story was explaining the real situation of the country with a simple narration. In the same year she wrote her short story “Kadhevu orathil avel” in Tamil and won district 1st place and provincial 3rd place in National Tamil language day competitions. And she wrote many short stories in Tamil too proving her talent in that language.
Sarah soon got noticed by many of the local literary agents and advice to work on a book. but Sarah’s mother didn’t wanted her daughter to move in to the writing career deeply as she wanted Sarah to finish her high school study properly without any messing.
In 2009 December she sat for her local general ordinary level examinations and received 2A* passes for Math and English literature, 3A passes and 4B passes. She selected CH/Carmel girl’s college which is run by sacred heart convent nuns as her high school. Her interest on math and science lead her to select biological science stream for her general local advanced level examinations studies.
While doing her first year in 2010 one of Sarah’s friends faced a terrifying life accident and this made Sarah to write a short story named “Broken angel” which is based on the true life story of her friend. This short story won district wise 1st place and was nominated as the best life portrait in national literary arts festival competitions. And she won country wise 4th place in National HNB competitions for the same story. Further this story gained much attention amidst the teens and high school girls and was publicly read in school libraries.
In the same year Sarah’s first short story “Praise the lord” got published in the local magazine “trend” and made Sarah to receive writing publicity even out of her town. Her short story “back again” too got published in the golden jubilee souvenir book of her former school Nazriya central college. And later the same story got nominated for the international common wealth organization’s short story competitions.
By the end of year 2010, Sarah started to suffer from anemia. This led her to stop schooling and bed rest. She became weak and ill for more than six months and left her studies in biological science stream as concentrating on studies were hard with her sickness. after a long term treatment she finally got cured in 2012 but missed performing her best in her local advanced level examinations ,so soon after she got well she applied for her BCS software engineering degree which she is currently doing and will hopefully finish in year 2014.she wishes to do masters in computer science as a further educational qualification. She is also studying fashion designing and French as her part time studies. Now she is a youth coordinator of Sri Lankan Red Cross society and an active social worker.
Sarah started to write her current debut novel Jazz Up which is due to publish this year autumn, in 2012 December after her five years research on it. She also has written a number of short stories which she wishes to publish as an anthology in coming years. Regarding her writing career Sarah dreams to be a famous author, screen writer and a preacher in near future. At the end of 2013, Sarah is looking forward to what the next year will bring: new stories, more performances, and, above all, furthering her career in the industry.
The day after tomorrow I will post links for you to find and follow her, and Friday I will answer a question that people have been plaguing dear Sarah with, as well as telling you a little something about her upcoming novel, Jazz Up!
Have a wonderful day!!