Stephanie Merritt was born in 1974. She graduated in English from Queens' College Cambridge in 1996. She has worked as a critic and feature writer for various publications including the Times, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, Arena, TLS, Zembla and Die Welt, and since 1998 has been Deputy Literary Editor and a staff writer at the Observer. She is the author of two novels, Gaveston (Faber) which won a Betty Trask Award in 2002, and Real (Faber, 2005), for which she is currently writing a screenplay. She has appeared regularly as a critic and panellist on Radio 4 and BBC7 and appeared as interviewer and author at various literary festivals, as well as the National Theatre and the ENO. She is currently at work on a third novel.