Anthony McGowan was born in Manchester in 1965. He went to school in Leeds. He has an M.Phil in philosophy and a PhD on the history of the concept of beauty. He has worked as a nightclub bouncer, civil servant, and Open University tutor in philosophy. He now lives in London. He is married to the fashion designer and novelist Rebecca Campbell. They have two children.
His debut thriller, Stag Hunt, was published in 2005 and a sequel, Mortal Coil, came out in 2005. In the same year, Random House published Hellbent, his first novel for teenagers, and a second young-adult book, Henry Tumour, was published in 2006. Henry Tumour won the Book Trust Teenage prize, the 2007 Catalyst Award, and has been shortlisted for several major awards.