Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law through the University of London and later worked as lawyer in one of Kuala Lumpur's most reputable law firms. He also has a first-dan ranking in aikido and is a strong proponent for the conservation of heritage buildings. His debut novel, The Gift of Rain was also long-listed for the ManBooker Prize. Tan Twan Eng lives in Cape Town where he is working on his third novel.