Debjani Chatterjee, MBE

Children's writer, Poet


Debjani Chatterjee is an award-winning poet, children’s writer and translator, who has been described as ‘Britain’s best-known Asian poet’ (Elisabetta Marino), ‘full of wit and charm’ (Andrew Motion) and ‘a voice of rare originality’ (David Morley). Her more than 60 books include Animal Antics and Monkey King’s Party for children, and I Was That Woman and Namaskar: new and selected poems for adults.

Her acclaimed anthologies include Barbed Lines, Let’s Celebrate! festival poems from around the world, Masala, Rainbow World, A Slice of Sheffield, Generations of Ghazals and The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry, described as recording ‘a seismic shift in British culture’. Debjani’s oral history books include Who Cares? reminiscences of Yemeni carers and Songs of Choice and Their Stories. She also writes short stories and plays. Her books have been translated into several languages.

Her many awards include the Peterloo poetry prize, Muse India’s poetry translation first prize, Sheffield Hallam University’s honorary doctorate for ‘outstanding contribution to literature, the arts and community service’ and an MBE in 2008. In 2012 she was an Olympic Torchbearer in the arts and culture category.

A former Arts Council literature adviser and translations panel chair, Debjani also chaired the National Association of Writers in Education. She is patron of Survivors’ Poetry, co-chair of the mental-health charity Hyphen-21, founder of The Healing Word and Sahitya Press, and associate editor of Pratibha India. She has been writer-in-residence at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum and Ilkley Litfest.

More from Debjani Chatterjee, MBE


Debjani Chatterjee, MBE

Children's writer, Poet


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  • De Montfort University, 2018–2020
  • Leeds Trinity University, 2012–2014
  • York St John University, 2006–2009
  • Writing for Life Fellow