Frederic Tuten grew up in the Bronx. At fifteen, he dropped out of High School to become a painter and live in Paris. He took odd jobs and studied briefly at the Art Students League, and eventually went back to school, continuing on to earn a Ph.D. in early 19th century American Literature from New York University.
He travelled through Latin and South America, studied pre-Columbian and Mexican mural painting at the University of Mexico, wrote about Brazilian Cinema Novo, and joined that circle of film makers, which included Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos. Tuten finally did live in Paris, where he taught film and literature at the University of Paris. He acted in a short film by Alain Resnais, co-wrote the cult film Possession, and conducted summer writing workshops with Paul Bowles in Tangiers.
Tuten’s short stories, art and film criticism have appeared in such places as ArtForum, the New York Times, Vogue, Conjunctions, Granta and Harpers. In addition, he has written essays and fictions for artists’ catalogues including Ross Bleckner, John Baldessari, Eric Fischl, Pierre Huyghe, Jeff Koons, David Salle and Roy Lichtenstein. He has published five novels: The Adventures of Mao on the Long March; Tallien: A Brief Romance; Tintin in the New World; Van Gogh’s Bad Café; The Green Hour; two short story collections, Self Portraits: Fictions and The Bar at Twilight; and a memoir, My Young Life. He has also published On a Terrace in Tangier, a book of drawings in which each work is accompanied by a story. Tuten’s fiction has been translated into nine languages.
Tuten received a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction and was given the Award for Distinguished Writing from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded four Pushcart Prizes and one O. Henry Prize.