Tontti is a novelist, essayist, poet and lawyer. He is president emeritus of Finnish PEN.
Tontti studied law, philosophy and literature at the universities of Helsinki, Edinburgh, Berlin and Brussels. He has published two collections of poetry, five novels and two collections of essays.
Tontti’s first published collection of poetry Vuosikirja (Book of Years, 2006) won the Kalevi Jäntti literature prize. His poems have been translated into English, French, Swedish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Croatian, Estonian, German, Greek, Slovenian, Latin, Polish, Romanian and Portuguese.
Before his writing career Tontti worked in the Ministry of Justice, Local Court of Espoo, in the Parliament of Finland and at the University of Helsinki. He received his Doctor of laws degree from the University of Helsinki in 2002 and is a specialist in philosophy of law, freedom of expression law and copyright law.