Owen Matthews was born in London in 1971. He studied Modern History at Oxford University before beginning his career as a freelance journalist in Bosnia. His stories have appeared in a number of publications including the Spectator, Harper's and Queen and Private Eye, the Times and Sunday Times, the Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, the Independent and the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Mail and the Times Literary Supplement. From 1995 to 1997 he worked at The Moscow Times, a daily English-language newspaper in Moscow, with forays into Lebanon and Afghanistan.
In 1997 Owen became a correspondent for Newsweek magazine, covering the second Chechen war as well as Russian politics and society. From 2001 to 2006 he was based in Istanbul, covering the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2006 he has combined the jobs of Newsweek's Moscow bureau chief and Istanbul correspondent. Owen is the author of Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love and War, published by Bloomsbury in June 2008, which was shortlisted for that year's Guardian First Books Award and the Orwell Prize for Political Writing, and listed among the Books of the Year by the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator. Stalin's Children has been translated into twenty languages, and the French edition (Les Enfants de Staline, Belfond, 2009) was shortlisted for the Prix Medicis Etranger 2009 and the Grand Prix des Lectrices d'Elle 2010.