Patrick grew up in the US and studied English Literature at the University of Southern California. He moved to London in 1999. Since then he has published four novels. The Knife of Never Letting Go won numerous awards, including the Book Trust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Award, and the 2008 James Tiptree, Jr. Award. In January 2010 he won the 2009 Costa Book Award for the category children's book for The Ask and the Answer. He has also written a novel and a collection of short stories for adults, although he prefers not to categorise his writing in this way.
He taught creative writing at Oxford University and has written and reviewed for The Daily Telegraph, The TLS, The Sunday Telegraph and The Guardian.