Bio

My novels are WHAT I DID, THE DEVIL’S MASK, TOWARDS THE SUN, THE UNDERTOW, BENEATH THE DIAMOND SKY, and ON CAPE THREE POINTS.  They are all available in the UK.  Some of them have also been published in the US, and others are available in translation for Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian readers.

And because people like to know these things:

I was born in 1970.

I grew up in California and the south of England.

I won a scholarship at Oxford, then moved to London to coincide with Black Wednesday.

Once there, I found myself working for a Nigerian businessman in Brick Lane.  He was starting up a recruitment paper.  I won the job by knowing what ‘fillip’ meant, and offering to write an insane amount of copy (including the ‘job horoscope’ column) every week.  My salary was part cash, part cheap ties, part West African chicken dishes.  Six months after starting I arrived at the office to find it boarded up.

I fled to academia, and began a PhD in Joyce, Faulkner and psycholinguistics at UCL.  This made me poor, and not much wiser about Joyce, Faulkner, or psycholinguistics.

I therefore went to law school, which made me poorer, before it began to make me rich.  Or at least it might have done if I’d stuck at the City law job.  But I was writing stories in my legal notepads at the back of the court, and reading photocopied novels at my desk, and feared I’d be caught out sooner or later.  I worked for some pretty impressive clients before I left.  The People’s Republic of China, The Football Association, and a man called Racehorse.  True.  It was interesting work, just not what I wanted to do.

So I resigned and headed to Australia, where I wrote my first novel looking at a beach.  It had a great deal of inappropriate wave imagery in it.  Some persists. (My mother once told me she thought the waves were a sensitive way of handling sex in the novel.)

Also in Australia, I learned to surf (badly) and fly a plane.  I’d wanted to learn to fly because both my father and grandfather flew for the RAF.  My plane was less impressive than theirs.  On returning to London from Australia I wrote and published two more novels, then moved to Bristol, just as the city was trying to figure out what to do about the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

This interested me.  Hence THE DEVIL’S MASK, which I wrote while I was the inaugural Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Bristol University.

When not writing, I also teach creative writing courses for The Arvon Foundation, Curtis Brown Creative and The Faber Academy.   I write travel journalism for The Independent as well.  When I’m not doing those things, I look after my two small children.

Fatherhood is fantastic.  It has also exposed some interesting character flaws.  Hence WHAT I DID.

For rights enquiries please contact Jonny Geller or Melissa Pimentel at Curtis Brown Limited.