Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Long Beach, CA, Tanya Selvaratnam is a writer, producer, actor, and activist. As a producer, Selvaratnam’s recent projects include artist Mickalene Thomas’s Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman (forthcoming on HBO); Chiara Clemente’s Beginnings (Sundance Channel, Webby Award); and the Rockefeller Foundation-funded MADE HERE. Currently in development are a documentary by Chiara Clemente about the artist Alex Katz and a documentary by Albert Maysles and Shola Lynch about civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams. Past film productions include Catherine Gund’s What’s On Your Plate? (Discovery Channel’s Planet Green); Chiara Clemente’s Our City Dreams (Sundance Channel); and Jed Weintrob’s The F Word (Independent Film Channel).
As an activist, Selvaratnam has worked for the World Health Organization, Ms. Foundation, and NGO Forum on Women; served on the boards of the Third Wave Foundation, Groundswell Community Mural Project, and The Wooster Group; and organized tsunami relief and book drive benefits for Sri Lanka. She received her graduate and undergraduate degrees in Chinese language and history from Harvard University. Her book, THE BIG LIE: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock, was released in January 2014 from Prometheus Books, distributed by Random House. www.tanyaturnsup.com