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Santhini Govindan (born 20 March 1959) is an author of children's literature in English. She has written more than 50 books for children, including poetry, picture books, and short stories for children of all ages. Her publishers include the National Book Trust (India), Children's Book Trust, (New Delhi) HarperCollins India, Scholastic India, India Book House, Pushtak Mahal, Vikas Publishing House, Wisdom Tree and the Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Govt. of India). Many stories and poems written by Santhini are currently used in academic books (English language readers and course books) in primary, middle and high schools across India, and have been published by Madhubun Books, Orient Blackswan and Pearson India Education Services Pvt. Ltd, among others. Her books have been translated into many Indian languages, and she has written more than 350 articles, stories and features for children that have appeared in children's magazines and national dailies in India and overseas.

She wrote two columns in the well known monthly children's magazine Chandamama on historical fiction and mythology for two years from 2011 until the magazine ceased publication in 2013.

Govindan was awarded a two-year Junior Fellowship in Literature from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Culture, Government of India in 1996, to write historical fiction for children in the short story form. In 1998, she was awarded a two-year Senior Fellowship in Literature by the Department of Culture, Govt. of India, for a research project on "Children's Literature in English in India". In July 2001, she was the first Indian writer to be invited to attend the annual Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop, held at Chautauqua, New York, in the United States. The Chautauqua conference is a major event in children's publishing globally and has writers attending from all over the world. Highlights for Children, published in the USA is the largest selling children's magazine in the world with a circulation of 3 million.

Govindan has conducted workshops for children at schools across Mumbai and in other Indian cities, and has taught creative writing at the under-graduate level at Mumbai University.

Early life and background

Santhini Govindan (born 20 March 1959, in San Francisco, California, United States of America) is a widely published, award-winning author of children's literature in English in India, who has written over 50 books for children including poetry, picture books and short stories for children of all ages. Her works have been translated into several Indian languages, and are widely used as text books in schools across India.

Santhini Govindan (née Kutty) was born to Madhavan Kutty, a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service and his wife Santha. She studied at the American Embassy International Schools at Prague in Czechoslovakia, in Berne, Switzerland, and in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where her father was posted as a diplomat. In 1977, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Madras and went on to take a master's degree in English literature in 1979.

In October 2018, Govindan was awarded a two year Lok Sabha Research Fellowship by the Parliament of India, through its Speaker's Research Initiative. The Lok Sabha Fellowships are granted for research projects that involve writing a book connected to any aspect of the functioning of the Indian parliament and parliamentary democracy.

Govindan's chosen project involves researching and writing a book that will reach out to children and adolescents and educate them about the role and functioning of the parliament of India.

Literary career

In 1986, she entered a story that she made up and told her infant son in the National Competition for Writers of Children's books, organized by the Children's Book Trust, New Delhi. The story "A Tale of Tuffy Turtle", won a prize in the competition and was the beginning of her writing career. Govindan has subsequently won twenty awards for her stories in different categories and for different age groups at the National Competition for writers of Children's books organized by the Children's Book Trust from 1987 to 2016. Her book, The Anger of Apsu, (published by CBT, new Delhi) was recommended by the Department of Elementary Education, Early Literacy Programme, NCERT (National Council of Educational Training and Research, in its suggested list of selected children's literature, Level 2, (Grades III- IV) 2014. Govindan is very interested in history and has written several books for children on Indian history for IL&FS ETS including It Happened 5000 years ago, (on the Indus Valley Civilization) Asoka’s Diary and The Magical Maratha on the Maratha king Shivaji.

Personal life

She is an avid dog lover, art enthusiast and collector of bells and is married to K. M. Govindan. She has a son and a daughter and resides and works in Mumbai, India.

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