Hélène Ramjiawan

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Hélène Ramjiawan
Helene Ramjiawan.jpg
Lilawatie Hélène Ramjiawan

(1952-02-20)20 February 1952
Paranam, Suriname
Died18 June 2021(2021-06-18) (aged 69)
Almere, Netherlands

Lilawatie Hélène Ramjiawan (20 February 1952 – 18 June 2021) was a Surinamese children's book author. She became known in the 1990s with her short stories for young readers about the girl "Poek".[1][2]


Lilawatie Hélène Ramjiawan was born in Paranam, Suriname on 20 February 1952. Her father Sewcharan Narain worked as a machine operator in the nearby Suralco [nl] bauxite mines. Her mother Boedhanie (Marie) Ramjiawan was a dressmaker.[1]

Ramjiawan first worked as a primary-school teacher for one year at the Sacred Heart School in Paranam. She then taught English for six years at the Swami Dayanand MULO in Paramaribo. She had two children from her first marriage, a son and a daughter. Her daughter was the inspiration for her character "Poek".[1]

Starting in 1990, Ramjiawan wrote a series of books which were illustrated by Steve Ammersingh. These books, centering around the young girl "Poek", were meant for young children who were learning to read. She also wrote two books of nursery rhymes, and one book for older children (Avonturen in Nickerie).[1] Ismene Krishnadath included two short stories by Ramjiawan in her 1993 anthology of female Surinamese authors.[3] Ramjiawan's short story "The Eye Doctor" was translated into English by Peter Constantine and published in a 1996 issue of the The Caribbean Writer.[4]

Ramjiawan and her children moved to the Netherlands in 1994, ending her work as a writer. For five years, she worked as a cleaner and at a day-care centre until she was able to find a position as a teacher in an Amsterdam school. She continued working there until her retirement in 2013. She married again in 2003, and was widowed in 2019.[1]

Ramjiawan died in Almere in the Netherlands on 18 June 2021, aged 69, from cancer.[1]


Title Year Age
Kan Poek al lezen?[5] 1990 2-6 year
Poek en Flappie gaan op reis[6] 1990 8-10 year
Poek en Sekre, de schildpad[7] 1990 3-9 year
Poek ontmoet Loetie en Loekie[8] 1991 9-11 year
Poek gaat vliegeren[9] 1992 3-7 year
Kapitein Poek[10] 1992 4-7 year
Rijmpjes voor het slapen gaan[11] 1992
Avonturen in Nickerie[12] 1993
Zonneschijn kleurboek[13] 1994


  1. ^ a b c d e f van Kempen, Michiel (20 June 2021). "Kinderboekenschrijfster Hélène Ramjiawan is niet meer". Caraïbisch Uitzicht (in Dutch). Werkgroep Caraïbische Letteren. Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  2. ^ van Kempen, Michiel (1992). "Jonge Surinaamse schrijvers: Een idealistische generatie met de hand op de knip". Restant (in Dutch). 20 (4): 7–20 – via Digital Library for Dutch Literature.
  3. ^ Krishnadath, Ismene, ed. (1993). Vrouwenbundel. Paramaribo: Publishing Services Suriname. ISBN 99914-920-6-2. OCLC 66038197.
  4. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1996). Translated by Peter Constantine. "The Eye Doctor". The Caribbean Writer. 10: 172–173 – via Digital Library of the Caribbean.
  5. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1990). Kan Poek al lezen? (voorleesverhaal). Steve Ammersingh. [Paramaribo]: H. Ramjiawan. ISBN 99914-949-2-8. OCLC 906580325.
  6. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1993). Poek en Flappie gaan op reis. Steve Ammersingh (2e herz. dr ed.). Paramaribo: [Zorg en Hoop]. ISBN 99914-948-8-X. OCLC 65997470.
  7. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1990). Poek en Sekre, de schildpad. Steve Ammersingh. [Paramaribo]: H. Ramjiawan. ISBN 99914-948-6-3. OCLC 906592610.
  8. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1991). Poek ontmoet Loetie en Loekie. Steve Ammersingh. Paramaribo: [H. Ramjiawan]. ISBN 99914-947-6-6. OCLC 65720555.
  9. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1992). Poek gaat vliegeren. Steve Ammersingh. Paramaribo: H. Ramjiawan. ISBN 99914-930-0-X. OCLC 906632286.
  10. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1992). Kapitein Poek. Steve Ammersingh. Pamaribo: Cyco n.v. ISBN 99914-930-1-8. OCLC 29432082.
  11. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1992). Rijmpjes voor het slapen gaan. Paramaribo: Pkin Fowru Productions. ISBN 99914-926-2-3. OCLC 66182255.
  12. ^ Ramjiawan, Hélène (1993). Avonturen in Nickerie. Paramaribo: H. Ramjiawan. ISBN 99914-930-2-6. OCLC 66284964.
  13. ^ Zonneschijn kleurboek. Helêne Ramjiawan. [Paramaribo]: Waka Tjopu. 1994. ISBN 99914-954-7-9. OCLC 68720895.CS1 maint: others (link)