Anthony Quinn was born in Liverpool in 1964. He was educated at the Catholic grammar school St Francis Xavier’s College and at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he read Classics. In 1986 he moved to London, working at Zwemmer’s bookshop on Charing Cross Road and renting a room in Islington so narrow he could touch both walls from the middle of it. His earliest break in journalism was to write book reviews for the recently launched Independent, whose literary editor was Sebastian Faulks. In the 1990s he became slightly more prosperous and moved to a bigger room, this one equipped with a kitchen. He continued to write for newspapers and magazines, and interviewed many writers, including Lorrie Moore, Alan Hollinghurst, William Boyd, Sarah Waters, Richard Ford, Jay McInerney, PJ O’Rourke, Ian McEwan, the Amises père et fils. He managed to meet his heroes – John Updike, Pauline Kael, Robert Hughes – and didn’t regret it. He was for fifteen years the film critic of the Independent (1998–2013) and also wrote a wine column for Esquire magazine.
Having been a judge on the 2006 Man Booker Prize he wrote his first novel the following year: the two events may have been related. The Rescue Man (2009) won the Authors’ Club Best First Novel award. Since then he has written four others: Half of the Human Race (2011), The Streets (2012), Curtain Call (2015), and his latest, Freya, published by Jonathan Cape in March 2016. He still lives in Islington.