He began his writing career as a stand-up poet, featuring regularly at many of the UK’s leading poetry nights and festivals. His poems have also been broadcast on radio and television. In 2005 his poetry short film Oedipus won the BBC Best New Filmaker Award and Berlin’s Zebra Poetry Film Award.
His first novel The Shock of the Fall – which describes the life of a young man grieving the loss of his brother – was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages. It won the 2013 Costa Book of the Year, the Betty Trask Prize, the National Book Award for Popular Fiction and the Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel.
He has written for the Guardian, New York Times and Huffington Post, and has contributed to numerous radio programmes and podcasts. His 2017 BBC Radio 4 documentary The Mind in the Media, which explored portrayals of mental illness in fiction and journalism, was shortlisted for a Mind Media Award.
His critically acclaimed work of non-fiction, The Heartland: Finding and Losing Schizophrenia, was described as ‘a beautifully written book that brims with compassion and wit’ (The Times) and ‘[an] intelligent, absorbing narrative exploration of schizophrenia’ (The Guardian).
He holds an Honorary Doctorate in Liberal Arts from Abertay University, conferred in recognition of his role in raising awareness of mental health issues through literature.
He lives in Bristol with his wife and two children, and lectures in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.