Sonali Deraniyagala is a Sri Lankan memoirist and economist. Born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, she studied economics at Oxford and Cambridge. She married economist Stephen Lissenburgh.
While on vacation at Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park in December 2004, she lost her two sons, her husband, and her parents in the Indian Ocean tsunami. The tsunami carried her two miles inland and she was able to survive by clinging to a tree branch.
Deraniyagala later relocated to New York where she became a visiting research scholar at Columbia University. Her 2013 memoir, Wave, recounts her experiences in the tsunami and the progression of her grief in the ensuing years. It was shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Wave – 2013