Matthew Lewis was born on 9 July 1775 in London. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He later worked as an attaché to the British Embassy in Holland and an MP. When he was nineteen years old he wrote The Monk, which was published in 1796 and became a huge popular success, leading to the author being nicknamed 'Monk Lewis'. Lewis also wrote plays, poetry, translations and a memoir. He died on 14 May 1818 on a voyage home from the estate he had inherited in Jamaica.