Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester in 1942 and grew up in a poor, Jewish area of the city. He was educated at Cambridge University and shortly after graduating he left England and travelled to Australia where he lectured at the University of Sydney for three years. On returning to England, Howard took a post at Selwyn College, Cambridge. During the 1970s he taught English at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in the West Midlands, an experience which provided the material for his first novel, Coming From Behind (1983). Subsequent novels include Peeping Tom (1984), a comedy of sexual jealousy satirising literary biography; The Very Model of a Man (1992), a re-working of the Cain and Abel myth; No More Mister Nice Guy (1998), the story of television critic Frank Ritz's mid-life crisis; and The Mighty Walzer (1999), set in the Jewish community in Manchester during the 1950s, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic writing and the "Jewish Quarterly" Literary Prize for Fiction in 2000.
Howard Jacobson's latest novel, Who's Sorry Now, was published in 2002 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.