Mathew was born in North West London. He studied English Language and Literature at Leeds University, where he also went on to take an MA in Renaissance Literature.
His most recent book, The Favourite, the first book-length exploration of the love affair between Walter Ralegh and Elizabeth I, was published by Constable in March 2011. He is currently working on a book about the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Mathew’s previous book, Impossible Journeys, was compared by The Guardian to a ‘non-fiction Calvino’. It has been a Folio Society bestseller since publication in 2010.
Mathew is a frequent contributor and former columnist for History Today magazine and he has written for a wide range of other publications, including the Financial Times, the Times Literary Supplement, Spectator, New Statesman, Management Today, the Guardian and the Times. He has been profiled in The Yorkshire Post and The Herald in Scotland.
His media appearances include Sky News, ITN, CBC, BBC Radio London (Robert Elms), LBC (Sandi Toksvig), and a wide range of regional radio stations including BBC Radio Wiltshire, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cornwall, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Radio Jersey, BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Radio Manchester (GMR).
He has spoken at the London Book Fair, Words on the Water, Chiswick Book Festival, Sharjah International Book Fair, Essex University, Bath Spa University, and numerous local history, library and book-shop events.
He also performed in the Dolphin’s Back production of Marlowe’s Massacre At Paris at the Rose Playhouse, as well as at the History Show-Off stand-up evening and at Wunderkammer, hosted by the Do Not Adjust Your Stage improv group.