I was born in Corby, Northamptonshire, in 1960 and educated at Beanfield Comprehensive and the University of East Anglia, where I am now Director of Creative Writing. I graduated from UEA with a BA in English & American Studies in 1983 and an MA in Creative Writing in 1985. My teachers on the MA were Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter. Before my first novel Pig was published in 1994 I worked as a postman, oral historian, dishwasher, cleaner in a cake factory and a school librarian. Pig won a Betty Trask Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, The Authors' Club First Novel Award, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize. It was shortlisted for five other awards. Common Ground (1996) and Crustaceans (2000) both received Arts Council bursaries. What I Know was the recipient of an Arts Council Writers' Award and was published in 2005. My creative writing guidebook The Art of Writing Fiction was published in 2011. My fifth novel Worthless Men was published by Sceptre in 2013. A new novel is on its way.