Tell us a story

LoveReading is thrilled to announce the launch of The Very Short Story Award 2019! If you think you have a story we'll love, click here to find out more and how to enter:

Find out more

Matthew Kneale - Author

About the Author

In his own words ... 'I was born in London in 1960 and brought up in Barnes, studying at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith. After school I caught the travel bug - I've never lost it - on a four-month trip across Italy and Greece. I then studied Modern History at Magdalen College, specializing in the nineeteenth century. When I finished I knew I wanted to write fiction, but wasn't quite sure how to set about this. I ended up taking a plane to Tokyo where I found work teaching English. As a lone Englishman - there was no other foreigner in the area where I lived - it was a strange and at times difficult existence, but I learnt a great deal about the country, and it was then I first tried writing short stories. After returning to England I completed my first novel, Whore Banquets, which is set in Japan, and attempts to offer a wry look at mutual cultural incomprehension. It was published in 1987 and won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1988.'

Matthew Kneale is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, including Sweet Thames, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and English Passengers, which won the Whitbread Novel of the Year for 2000 and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He now lives in Oxford.

 

Featured books by Matthew Kneale

Other books by Matthew Kneale

Rome: A History in Seven Sackings

Rome: A History in Seven Sackings

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2018

Nominated for the 2017 Pen Hessell-Tiltman Daily Telegraph's Best History Books of 2017 Sunday Times' Best History Books of 2017 A sweeping history of the city of Rome, seen through the eyes of its most significant sackings, from the Gauls to the Nazis and everything in between. No city on earth has preserved its past as Rome has. Visitors can cross bridges that were crossed by Julius Caesar and explore temples visited by Roman emperors. These architectural survivals are all the more remarkable considering the city has been repeatedly ravaged by roving armies. From the Gauls to the Nazis, Matthew Kneale tells the stories behind the seven most important of these attacks and reveals, with fascinating insight, how they transformed the city - and not always for the worse. A meticulously researched, magical blend of travelogue, social and cultural history, Rome: A History in Seven Sackings is a celebration of the fierce courage, panache and vitality of the Roman people. Most of all, it is a passionate love letter to this incomparable city.

Sweet Thames

Sweet Thames

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/07/2018

In the summer of 1849, cholera threatens the city and the people of London. The authorities send millions of gallons of sewage cascading into the Thames - for many Londoners the only source of drinking water. Joshua Jeavons, a young and idealistic engineer, embarks on an obsessive quest to find the cause of the epidemic. As he labours in a fog of incomprehension, his domestic life is troubled by the baffling coldness of his beautiful bride, Isobella. But when she suddenly disappears, his desperate search for her takes him to a netherworld of slum-dwellers, pickpockets and scavengers of subterranean London.

Sweet Thames

Sweet Thames

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: eBook Release Date: 05/07/2018

In the summer of 1849, cholera threatens the city and the people of London. The authorities send millions of gallons of sewage cascading into the Thames - for many Londoners the only source of drinking water. Joshua Jeavons, a young and idealistic engineer, embarks on an obsessive quest to find the cause of the epidemic. As he labours in a fog of incomprehension, his domestic life is troubled by the baffling coldness of his beautiful bride, Isobella. But when she suddenly disappears, his desperate search for her takes him to a netherworld of slum-dwellers, pickpockets and scavengers of subterranean London.

Rome: A History in Seven Sackings

Rome: A History in Seven Sackings

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/10/2017

Daily Telegraph's Best History Books of 2017 Sunday Times' Best History Books of 2017 Nominated for the 2017 Pen Hessell-Tiltman A sweeping history of the city of Rome, seen through the eyes of its most significant sackings, from the Gauls to the Nazis and everything in between. No city on earth has preserved its past as Rome has. Visitors can cross bridges that were crossed by Cicero and Julius Caesar, explore temples visited by Roman emperors, and step into churches that have hardly changed since popes celebrated mass in them sixteen centuries ago. These architectural survivals are all the more remarkable considering the many disasters that have struck the city. Rome has been afflicted by earthquakes, floods, fires and plagues, but most of all it has been repeatedly ravaged by roving armies. From the Gauls to the Nazis, Matthew Kneale tells the stories behind the seven most important of these attacks and reveals, with fascinating insight, how they transformed the city - and not always for the worse. Using this entirely new approach to Rome's past he unveils how it became the city it is today. A meticulously researched, magical blend of travelogue, social and cultural history, Rome: A History in Seven Sackings is a celebration of the fierce courage, panache and vitality of the Roman people. Most of all, it is a passionate love letter to this incomparable city. 'A masterpiece of pacing and suspense' Sunday Times 'Fascinating... A delight' The Times 'Book of the Week'

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/06/2016

An Atheist's History of Belief Understanding Our Most Extraordinary Invention

An Atheist's History of Belief Understanding Our Most Extraordinary Invention

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/06/2014

What first prompted prehistoric man, sheltering in the shadows of deep caves, to call upon the realm of the spirits? And why has belief thrived ever since, leading us to invent heaven and hell, sin and redemption, and above all, gods? Religion reflects our deepest hopes and fears; whether you are a believer or, like Matthew Kneale, a non-believer who admires mankind's capacity to create and to imagine, it has shaped our world. And as our dreams and nightmares have changed over the millennia, so have our beliefs - from shamans to Aztec priests, from Buddhists to Christians: the gods we created have evolved with us. Belief is humanity's most epic invention. It has always been our closest companion and greatest consolation. To understand it is to better understand ourselves.

When We Were Romans

When We Were Romans

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/05/2008

Nine-year-old Lawrence is the man in his family, watching protectively over his mother and his wilful little sister Jemima. When the three of them suddenly move to Rome it seems at first to be a great adventure: a long drive through the night to the city of popes and emperors. But as his mother's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, and the threat that had forced them to Italy seems to have followed them there, Lawrence's excitement at his new surroundings gives way to something far harder to endure. Told in the engaging voice of Lawrence, this haunting psychological novel powerfully evokes all the feelings of childhood - the triumphs, the jealousies, the fears, the possessions, and most of all, the love. 'Heartbreakingly moving . . . Full of restraint and artistic integrity, this is a poignant, haunting and lovely novel' Joanna Briscoe, Guardian 'The road trip is narrated by Lawrence with insight, humour and sweetly erratic spelling . . . The fragility of a family is sensed beautifully' Financial Times 'I believed in Lawrence as a character. His voice is skilfully realised, to the extent that I felt I could actually hear it . . . I cried at the end' Irish Times

English Passengers

English Passengers

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: eBook Release Date: 15/06/2005

WINNER - WHITBREAD BOOK OF THE YEAR 2000The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson sets out from England, in the summer of 1857, with an expedition to find the Garden of Eden, which he is convinced lies on the island of Tasmania. Unknown to him, others in the party have very different agendas, notably the surgeon, Dr Potter, who is developing a revolutionary and sinister thesis of his own on the races of man. To complicate matters further, the ship Wilson has hurriedly chartered, crewed by Captain Kewley and his secretive Manxmen, is in fact an ill-starred smuggling vessel, its hidden compartments filled with contraband brandy and tobacco. As the vessel journeys haplessly southwards, in Tasmania itself an Aboriginal named Peevay recounts his people's struggle against the invading British, who prove as lethal in their good intentions as in their cruelty. This is no Eden but a world of hunting parties and colonial ethnic cleansing. As the English passengers near Peevay's land, their bizarre notions ever more painfully at odds with reality, it grows clear that a mighty collision is approaching.

English Passengers

English Passengers

Author: Matthew Kneale Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/01/2001

'A big, ambitious novel with a rich historical sweep and a host of narrative voices. Its subject is a vicar's ludicrous expedition in 1857 to the Garden of Eden in Tasmania, [as] meanwhile, in Tasmania itself, the British settlers are alternately trying to civilise and eliminate the Aboriginal population ... The sort of novel that few contemporary writers have either the imagination or the stamina to sustain' - Daily Telegraph