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Ratha Tep is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, and has also written for other publications including The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, and Travel + Leisure. Wally the World's Greatest Piano-Playing Wombat (Princeton Architectural Press, October 2022) is her debut picture book

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Ratha Tep was born in Cambodia and grew up in New York City, where her childhood consisted of, among other things, walking her rabbit on a leash on the concrete sidewalks, and weekly visits to the Children’s Reading Room at the Donnell Library. She went on to get degrees in English and in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and has also taken writing workshops and classes at Brown University and the New School.


Ratha is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her work has also appeared in print and online for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Afar, and Food & Wine, where she was an editor for seven years. Ratha has reported from New York, Paris, Milan, London, Zurich and Basel. She is now looking to create new worlds of her own, in which animal characters navigate their foibles and frailties with humor and spirit.

Ratha is happily settled in a 180-year-old house in Dublin filled with books and creaky floorboards. She loves, in no particular order, Sunday roasts with her family, curling up to read with her girls in the evening (and morning), and weeping willow trees. She recently started Max’s Boat, a picture book recommendation site where writers and illustrators share their favorite titles.

Her first picture book is about a wombat named Wally, who was the World’s Greatest Piano-Playing Wombat, until he realized he wasn’t.

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