Hugh Fleetwood was born in Chichester, Sussex, in 1944. Aged 21 he moved to Italy and lived there for fourteen years, during which time he exhibited his paintings and wrote a number of novels and story collections, originally published by Hamish Hamilton, beginning with A Painter of Flowers (1972). His second novel, The Girl Who Passed for Normal (1973), won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. His fifth, The Order of Death (1977), was adapted into a 1983 film starring Harvey Keitel and John Lydon. In 1978 he published his first collection of short stories, The Beast. Subsequent collections have included Fictional Lives (1980) and The Man Who Went Down With His Ship (1988). He currently lives in London, and continues to work both as writer and painter.