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Tutu Dutta

Tutu Dutta lives in Kuala Lumpur; she was born in India but grew up in Malaysia. She has a BSc from Universiti Putra Malaysia and an MPhil from the University of Malaya. As an undergraduate, she won a scholarship from Japan Airlines, to attend Summer School at Sophia University in Tokyo, an eye-opening experience which instilled in her a love for folklore. She has also studied at the University of Strasbourg, France.
Dutta started writing children’s books when she lived in far flung cities as the spouse of a diplomat, including: Singapore, Lagos, New York, Havana and Zagreb. She has a daughter, Shona Yean, who was born in Singapore in 1992. Shona is her informant on youth and popular culture and keeps her abreast of international trends; Shona qualified as a Barrister at Middle Temple Inn (UK) in 2017.
To date, Tutu Dutta has authored nine books, including Timeless Tales of Malaysia, Eight Treasures of the Dragon, and the middle grade duology, The Jugra Chronicles, a story set in 17th Century Borneo. Phoenix Song is her first picture book; published by Lantana Publishing (UK) and illustrated by Martina Peluso. It is also her first book, to be translated into Malay, and was published by Oyez! in 2017.
In 2016, Marshall Cavendish decided to publish a new edition of Timeless Tales of Malaysia, entitled The Magic Urn and Other Timeless Tales of Malaysia. This was followed by Nights of the Dark Moon, a collection of dark folktales from Asia and Africa, in 2017. It was reprinted in 2019 and garnered renewed interest and positive media reviews in Malaysia and India.
In 2019, an anthology she co-edited with Sharifah Aishah Osman, entitled The Principal Girl: Feminist Tales from Asia, was published by GB Gerakbudaya Enterprise Sdn Bhd, a publisher known for social activism. This book was a surprise hit with YA readers and received wide media coverage and reviews.
She was invited as a speaker at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore, twice. The first in 2013, where she presented a paper entitled Adapting Asian Folktales for Children’s and YA Literature, and in 2017 she presented two papers, Folklore Finesse and Hidden Elements. She was also one of the speakers at a panel of Malaysian authors during the East-West Conference organized by the University of Malaya in 2017.
Tutu Dutta was also one of the judges for the Scholastic Asia Young Writers Award 2014, representing Malaysia. Her stories are rooted in Asian culture and reflect the research she had put into the subject. Readers and reviewers have also pointed out the feminist leanings and the deep reverence for nature, in her stories. In fact, Timeless Tales of Malaysia, inspired a group of children to produce a video about it and was the subject of a Master’s Degree in English Literature at the University of Malaya.
She is active in local literary circles and is a Committee Member of the Malaysian Writers Society, helmed by Tina Isaac and Gina Yap, since its inception in 2017; and also a member and Patron of The Classic Challengers, a readers and writers collective, helmed by Nazli Anim Ghazali and Vickneswaran Manickasagar.