Manu Bhattathiri was born in Kottarakkara, Kerala. He did his schooling in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Kashmir and Bangalore, and his college in Kerala. Manu has worked as a journalist in the New Indian Express, Bangalore, a copywriter in several advertising agencies including Ogilvy & Mather, TBWA and RK Swamy, and as a college lecturer briefly in Sree Vivekananda College, Kunnamkulam. He currently co-owns a small ad agency in Bangalore by the name of Cheers! Communications.
Apart from numerous articles and short stories in magazines and newspapers (The Caravan, The Hindustan Times, Scroll, The Hindu’s BLink supplement, The Indian Express and more), Manu has published three books. The first is a collection called Savithri’s Special Room and Other Stories, out from HarperCollins in 2016. It was longlisted at the Tata Literature Live! in 2016 and shortlisted at the 15th Raymond Crossword Book Award in 2017. Aleph Book Company published his first novel The Town That Laughed in August 2018. The work received widespread critical acclaim, and was listed by The Hindu as one of the top 10 books (fiction) of 2018.
Manu’s latest is The Oracle of Karuthupuzha, a novel set in the fictional small town of his creation, Karuthupuzha, that has repeatedly been compared to RK Narayan’s Malgudi. It was out from Aleph on 10 April 2021. The Hindu had this to say following the release: ‘So far as the power of world-building goes, Bhattathiri stands shoulder-to-shoulder with giants like R.K. Narayanan and William Faulkner.’ Aleph is all set to launch his next, a short story collection named Odd Neighbours, later in 2022.
Manu lives in Bangalore with his parents, wife, daughter and no less than three dogs.