John Bowen was born in India, sent "home" to England at the age of four and a half, and was reared by aunts. He served in the Indian Army from 1943-47, then went to Oxford to read Modern History. After graduating he spent a year in the USA as a Fulbright Scholar, much of it hitch-hiking. He worked for a while in glossy journalism, then in advertising, before turning freelance when the BBC commissioned a six-part adventure-serial for Children's Television. Between 1956 and 1965 he published six novels to excellent reviews and modest sales, then forsook the novel for nineteen years to concentrate on writing television drama (Heil Caesar: Robin Redbreast) and plays for the stage (After the Rain: Little Boxes: The Disorderly Women). He returned to writing novels in 1984 with The McGuffin: there were four more thereafter. Reviewers have likened his prose to that of Proust and P. G. Wodehouse, of E. M. Forster and the young John Buchan: it may be fair to say that he resists compartmentalisation. He has worked as a television producer for both the BBC and ITV, directed plays at Hampstead and Pitlochry and taught at the London Academy of Dramatic Art. He lives in a house on a hill among fields between Banbury and Stratford-on-Avon.