Philip Hensher was born in south London, where he still lives. He was educated at Oxford and at Cambridge, where his doctorate was on eighteenth-century English painting, and worked for six years as a clerk in the House of Commons. His novels are Other Lulus (1994), Kitchen Venom (1996), which won a Somerset Maugham Award, Pleasured (1998), The Mulberry Empire (2002) and The Northern Clemency (2008). His short stories are collected as The Bedroom of the Mister’s Wife (1999). In addition he wrote the libretto for Thomas Adès’s opera, Powder Her Face.