Sunetra Gupta was born in Calcutta and spent her childhood in Ethiopia and Zambia. She returned to Calcutta as a teenager and began writing, encouraged by her father who introduced her to the work of the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. She graduated from Princeton in 1987 with a degree in biology and has a Ph.D. from the University of London. She is a Reader in Epidemiology at Oxford University.
She is the author of four novels, Memories of Rain (1992), originally inspired by Brendan Kenelly's adaptation of Medea; The Glassblower's Breath (1993), about a single day in the lives of a butcher, a baker and a candle maker and the women they all love, set in Calcutta, New York and London; Moonlight into Marzipan (1995), the story of a remarkable discovery made in a crumbling garage laboratory in Calcutta; and A Sin of Colour (1999), which narrates the history of three generations of a wealthy Indian family from Calcutta. A Sin of Colour won the Southern Arts Literature Award. This novel was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award and was nominated for the Orange Prize, the award for the best novel written by a woman in the U.K.
Sunetra Gupta lives in Oxford with her husband and two daughters. She divides her time between her family, researching infectious diseases and writing.