M.J. Hyland was born in London to Irish parents in 1968 and spent her early childhood in Dublin. She studied English and Law at the University of Melbourne and worked as a lawyer for several years. How the Light Gets In, her first novel, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Age Book of the Year Award, and was the joint winner of the Best Young Australian Novelist Award. Her second novel, Carry Me Down, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize and won both the Hawthornden and Encore Prizes. Her most recent novel is This is How. Hyland lives in Manchester, England, where she teaches in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester.