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. He is currently working on a book about the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Mathew’s previous books include Impossible Journeys, a collection of travellers tales about journeys to places that did not exist, which was compared by The Guardian to a ‘non-fiction Calvino’, and There and Back Again, about the influence on Tolkien of English landscape and mythology.
Mathew has written or reviewed for a wide range of publications, including History Today, the Financial Times, the Times Literary Supplement, BBC History, The Stage, The Author, Literary Review, The Quietus, Renaissance Studies, All About History, Spectator, New Statesman, New Humanist, and The Chap. 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.