Lawrence Osborne was born in England and educated at Cambridge and Harvard, where he studied modern languages. He then lived in Paris for ten years, where he wrote his first novel Ania Malina and, later, the travelogue Paris Dreambook. Subsequently, he has lived a nomadic life, moving to New York City and then to Mexico, Istanbul and Bangkok, where he currently resides.
He has written extensively for American publications since then. He was a regular feature writer for the New York Times Magazine for several years, writing about science, psychiatry and medicine but also occasionally contributing profiles, such as that of Jean-Luc Godard; he has also contributed to Salon, Harper’s,The New Yorker, The Financial Times, The New York Observer, New York Magazine, Forbes, The Conde Nast Traveler, Playboy, The Daily Beast, Gourmet, The Wall Street Journal Magazine and Men’s Vogue, for whom he was the monthly Cellar Critic. He writes regularly for the international edition of Newsweek, for whom he has contributed recent profiles of filmmaker Pedro Almodovar and boxer Manny Pacquiao, as well as numerous travel pieces.His short stories have also appeared in magazines such as Tin House and Fiction. His article “Drinking in Islamabad” which appeared in Playboy was awarded a 2011 Thomas Lowell Award for travel journalism and also won the Beer and Spirits category in the annual food writing awards of the Culinary Society of America. His short story “Volcano,” published in Tin House in 2011, was selected for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 2012.
He is the author of the novel Ania Malina ( 1986 ), Paris Dreambook ( 1990 ), the essay collection The Poisoned Embrace ( 1993 ), also published by Bloomsbury and then Pantheon. More recently he has published American Normal, a study of autism ( 2002 ), and then The Accidental Connoisseur an exploration of the world of wine (2004 ), and The Naked Tourist on modern tourism ( 2006 ), both published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. Shangri-la (2008 ), is an account of a journey across Sichuan and Yunnan in China. His memoir Bangkok Days was published by Farrar Strauss Giroux in 2009 and by Vintage paperback UK in 2010. It was awarded the 2010 Premio Napoli. His novel The Forgiven was published in September 2012 by Hogarth Press in New York and London. It was named one of the Best Books of 2012 by The Economist, Library Journal and The Guardian. A book about drinking, meanwhile, The Wet and the Dry was published by Harvill in London in early 2013 and was selected as one of the Best 10 Books of 2013 by Dwight Garner in The New York Times and by Men’s Journal. His novel The Ballad of a Small Player came out in April 2014 and his newest, Hunters in the Dark, will be released from Crown in January 2016.