'Phanomthien' passes away

Chatchai Wisetsuwannaphum, one of Thailand's literary greats known by his pen name Phanomthien, passed away on April 21.

Chatchai Wisetsuwannaphum, one of Thailand's literary greats known by his pen name Phanomthien, has died of natural causes at the age of 89.

Chatchai's prolific works span five decades, gripping generations of readers. Among his well-known classics are Chula TrikhoonLeb Krut and Siva Ratree. But it was his adventure fiction, Phet Phra Uma, that propelled him to meteoric fame. 

Chai Nakornchai, director-general of Department of Cultural Promotion, said the funeral bathing rite will be performed today at Wat That Thong in Bangkok. Afterwards, a sermon will be conducted for one day before the ceremony takes a break, which will resume when the Covid-19 situation improves.

The department has donated 20,000 baht toward the funeral costs. The agency is also spending 150,000 baht publishing a book on the writers' life and work.

Chatchai, who was honoured as a national artist in 1997, was born in Pattani on Nov 23, 1931. He worked across a range of literary genres, including speculative fiction, adventure, detective fiction and fantasy.