The son of Sir Kingsley Amis, Martin’s father showed no interest in his work, he was anvil comic book reader until his stepmother (the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard) introduced him to Jane Austen, at 15 he landed an acting part in the film version of Richard Hughes ‘A High Wind in Jamaica’.
His debut novel The Rachel Papers was largely biographical, it is the story of a bright egotistical teenager’s relationship with his girlfriend before she goes to university. Amis often uses black humour and courts controversy with his views on England, Muslims and female characters in his work (for which London Fields was omitted from the Booker prize shortlist) In 1995 he abandoned his long standing agent Pat Kavanagh in order to command an enormous advance for his novel The Information this generated much hostility within the publishing world and led his fall out with Julian Barnes (Pat’s husband) He also attacked the views of his long term friend Christopher Hitchens in his novel Koba the Dread accusing him of bing a communist sympathiser.
In 2008 The Times named him one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize twice (for Time’s Arrow and Yellow Dog)