Chris Westwood was born and brought up in west Yorkshire, the son of a coal miner and an English teacher. While still at school he sold his first writing — two record reviews — to the London weekly music paper Record Mirror, where he later worked as a staff reporter for three years. His debut novel for young readers A Light in the Black (Penguin, 1989) was shortlisted for the Guardian children’s fiction prize. His second Calling All Monsters (Penguin, 1990) was optioned three times for film by Steven Spielberg. His other titles for Penguin include Brother of Mine (1993), a story of sibling rivalry told in alternating chapters by identical twins, and Virtual World (1997), a cyberspace thriller in which players of an illegally downloaded game mysteriously disappear.
After taking a long break from writing to care full-time for his father, Chris returned with the highly acclaimed Ministry of Pandemonium (Frances Lincoln, 2011), the first in a trilogy of fantasy novels set in a secret, alternative London — primarily in London’s East End, where Chris now lives with his partner Gill, a television drama director. In 2012, Ministry of Pandemonium won the North-east book award and was runner-up for the Northern Ireland book award. Its sequel The Great and Dangerous was published in the same year, and the final book in the series As Above So Below is currently under construction.