Agnes Thambynayagam has conducted extensive research into Sri Lankan history between 1498 and 1832. A significant portion of her research was conducted during her tenure at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, England, in 2003-2007.
Agnes was born in her mother’s home in Vavuniya, northern Sri Lanka in 1949. Her early childhood days were spent in her father’s village Mirusuvil, Jaffna. She spent most of her childhood life learning about people in Chetty-Kullam, Chavakacheri, Vidataltivu and Kilinochchi where her father was stationed as the head-master of Roman Catholic Schools. She attended junior and high school at Holy Family Convent, a private Catholic Girls’ School in Jaffna. After leaving school, she taught mathematics, science and piano at Little Flower Convent in Karampon, Kayts and at St Antony’s R.C. School in Pasaiyoor, Jaffna.
Agnes moved to England in 1976 and worked for the British civil service in Manchester and the Inland Revenue in Cambridge. She moved to the United States with her family in 1984. Agnes taught as a substitute teacher at Four Winds Special Education School in New York and Danbury Schools in Connecticut.
Agnes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Houston, Texas and a Masters degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. She studied the culture of India at the University of Western Connecticut, Buddhism and Hinduism at the University of Oxford and Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University in England. Agnes is an amateur photographer and has also played table tennis and badminton competitively in Sri Lanka, USA and UK.
Agnes has travelled throughout Sri Lanka, Europe, Canada and the United States. Her wide knowledge and her understanding of her people both at home and abroad have given her an insightful perspective which illuminates her book, ‘The Gentiles, A History of Sri Lanka 1498-1833’.