Justin Cartwright was born in South Africa. He worked in advertising as a copywriter and progressed to making documentary films on a number of subjects, as various as the Dead Sea Scrolls and lions hunting at night in Africa.
His novels include In Every Face I Meet, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1995, and Leading the Cheers, which won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1998.
Five of his novels have been shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award. The Promise of Happiness won the Hawthornden Prize in 2005 and the Sunday Times of South Africa’s Literary Prize. The Song Before It Is Sung, published in 2007 won the inaugural Jewish Cultural Award. He is a critic and a frequent contributor to BBC’s Front Row and other cultural programmes.
He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.