Sebastian Faulks was born on 20 April 1953 and was educated at Wellington College and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was the first literary editor of The Independent and became deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday before leaving in 1991 to concentrate on writing. He has been a columnist for The Guardian (1992-8) and the Evening Standard (1997-9). He continues to contribute articles and reviews to a number of newspapers and magazines. He wrote and presented the Channel 4 Television series Churchill's Secret Army, screened in 1999. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
His first novel, A Trick of the Light, was published in 1984. His other novels include The Girl at the Lion d'Or (1989), set in France between the First and Second World Wars, and the bestselling Birdsong (1993), the story of a young Englishman called Stephen Wraysford and his harrowing experiences fighting in northern France during the First World War. The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives (1996) is a multiple biography of the lives of the artist Christopher Wood, airman Richard Hillary and spy Jeremy Wolfenden.
His fifth novel, Charlotte Gray (1998), completes the loose trilogy of books about France with an account of the adventures of a young Scottish woman who becomes involved with the French resistance during the Second World War. A film adaptation of the novel, starring Cate Blanchett, was first screened in 2002. His next novel, On Green Dolphin Street (2001), is a love story set against the backdrop of the Cold War. Human Traces, a book set in the 19th century and telling the tale of two friends who set up a pioneering asylum, was published in 2005. Recent novels are Engleby (2007) and Devil May Care, a new James Bond novel commissioned by the Ian Fleming estate to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth. It won the 2009 British Book Awards Popular Fiction Award.
Pistache (2006) is a collection of parodies and pastiches, mostly from BBC Radio 4's The Write Stuff, which was followed by A Week in December (2009), which follows the lives of seven characters in London during the week before Christmas 2007. Faulks on Fiction, a book accompanying the television series of the same name, was published in 2011. His latest work A Possible Life was published in September 2012.
Sebastian Faulks lives with his wife and three children in London. He was awarded the CBE in 2002.