In his own words... 'I was born in London in 1960 and brought up in Barnes, studying at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith. After school I caught the travel bug - I've never lost it - on a four-month trip across Italy and Greece. I then studied Modern History at Magdalen College, specializing in the nineeteenth century. When I finished I knew I wanted to write fiction, but wasn't quite sure how to set about this. I ended up taking a plane to Tokyo where I found work teaching English. As a lone Englishman - there was no other foreigner in the area where I lived - it was a strange and at times difficult existence, but I learnt a great deal about the country, and it was then I first tried writing short stories. After returning to England I completed my first novel, Whore Banquets, which is set in Japan, and attempts to offer a wry look at mutual cultural incomprehension. It was published in 1987 and won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1988.'
Matthew Kneale is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, including Sweet Thames, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and English Passengers, which won the Whitbread Novel of the Year for 2000 and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He now lives in Oxford.