Born in 1956, Chris Paling studied social sciences at the University of Sussex. He started working as a studio manager for BBC radio in 1981. In the early 90s he had a Thirty Minute Theatre play called Way Station produced on BBC Radio 4. He wrote more radio plays and later began writing novels.
After the Raid (1995), a wartime study of a shattered mind, was closely followed by Deserters (1996) and Morning All Day (1997). Paling feared The Silent Sentry (1999), about a radio producer who cracks up, might be "the longest resignation letter in history", but he remains a Radio 4 producer to this day. Newton's Swing (2000) was a subtle Stateside thriller; The Repentant Morning (2003) is set in London and Spain in 1936; A Town by the Sea (2005) is a departure from his previous style, leading the reader through a strange landscape of unfamiliar people and places. "Minding" (2007), recently nominated for the Mind book of the year, was described as 'a delicately and intimately drawn portrait'.
Chris Paling is married with two children, Sarah and Thomas, and lives in Brighton.