BANGKOK – Salisa Phruttitum, a novelist and former reporter at The Nation, was found dead in her condominium in Bangkok’s Thonglor area yesterday.
Born in 1972, Salisa spent her childhood in the US. She studied at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and graduated with a degree in economics from Northwestern University. She returned to Thailand in 1994 and completed a master’s degree at Sasin Graduate School of Chulalongkorn University.
She wrote for the features section of The Nation and left the newspaper to focus on writing novels. Her first, “Chalida: A Thai Family Drama”, an English-language novel, was published by Asia Books last year.
Even though a work of fiction, the novel conjured up memories of tragic political events of the past with its story of the hi-so foreign-educated Chalida. She is guilt-ridden when she learns the Thai people blame her grandfather, a former prime minister, for the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in the 1970s. The novel ends with Chalida, like her mother, committing suicide. The book was translated into Thai by Nation Books.
Salisa was also freelance writer for various English magazines and was working on her second novel, which dealt with the gap between the rich and the poor in Thai society. Before her untimely death, she was about to start working full time again.
She is survived by her son Punn.
Thonglor Police Station superintendent Colonel Chumpol Pumpuang said a cleaner at the apartment building noticed the door to Salisa’s room was slightly ajar, became suspicious and went in to check.
“The cleaner alerted police after the body was found,” Chumpol said.
It was believed that she might have been dead for at least 24 hours.
“This does not look like a murder. But we will have to send her body for an autopsy before we can determine the exact cause of her death,” Chumpol said.