Leon Garfield was born and educated in Brighton, England. His art studies were interrupted by the Second World War, during which he served in the Army Medical Corps. After the war he worked as a hospital laboratory technician until he gave this up to devote himself to writing.
His books have been widely translated and have won many international and British literary awards. In 1981 he was nominated for the pretigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.
He was married with one daughter and lived in North London, the setting for many of his novels, until his death in 1996.