Adam Thorpe was born in Paris and grew up in India, Cameroon, and England. Graduating Oxford's Magdalen College in 1979, he founded a touring theatre company, then settled in London to teach drama and English literature.
His writing in various genres has garnered recognition throughout his career. His first collection of poetry, Mornings in the Baltic (1988), was shortlisted that year for the Whitbread Poetry Award. His first novel, Ulverton (1992), an episodic work covering 350 years of English rural history, won great critical acclaim worldwide, including that of novelist John Fowles, who reviewed it in The Guardian and praised it:
"...the most interesting first novel I have read these last years".
The novel was awarded the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for 1992. Adam Thorpe lives in France with his wife and three children. His most recent work, Hodd, is a novelisation of the story of Robin Hood: among the source material which Thorpe used for this book, he studied medieval pipe rolls.