I was born in Summit, New Jersey (the site of the Velvet Underground’s first concert), and spent the first six years of life in Berkeley Heights, a dormitory town that is notable for little more than being the home town of Mary-Jo Kopechne, who died in the Chappaquiddick incident.

My father, Joe, was born in Warsaw, reaching the USA by way of England, Iraq, Palestine, Monte Cassino, and a forced-labour camp in Siberia; and my mother, Trudy, was from the East End of London.

Since 1967, I have lived mostly in London, with a few years in New York City.

I have written seven novels — the most recent, John the Pupil, is published by 4th Estate in the UK and HarperCollins in the USA. I have also written film scripts and am working on an opera, Army Of Lovers, with the composer Mark Springer. LUCK is my first full-length work of non-fiction.

portrait by Kate Boxer

I have been a tv critic for The Times, and a poker columnist for the Sunday Telegraph. I have also written for the Guardian, Observer, New Statesman, Mail on Sunday, Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung amongst others. My short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, including Granta, Esquire, Arena, He Played for his Wife, The Seven Deadly Sins, New Writing 8, Fatherhood and the Jewish Quarterly

I attended the universities of Sussex and East Anglia, have worked as a film projectionist, cinema manager, and teacher of Creative Writing in such venues as the universities of East Anglia, Brunel and East London, Morley College and Pentonville Prison. I currently teach Creative Writing at the University of Kent and live in Deal and south London with my wife and two children.