Famous for his Carnegie Medal-winning young adult historical novel Tamar (2005) and for his Guardian Prize-winning work Exposure (2008), he is also remembered for his 2014 adult work The Murdstone Trilogy.
After briefly studying literature at the University of Warwick, he was employed as a writer for an educational publishing company. He was fifty-two years old when he decided to try his hand at writing fiction; his debut work, a children's picture book titled Cloud Tea Monkeys, was published in 1999.
Several years prior to his death from cancer, Peet penned a a partially autobiographical work titled Life: An Exploded Diagram (2011).
He and his two younger siblings were raised in Norfolk, England. His relationship with Amy Urry produced children named Charlie and Lauren, and his marriage to Elspeth Graham resulted in a son named Tom.
He and Marcus Sedgwick were both recipients of the prestigious Branford Boase Award (for their respective children's novels Keeper and Floodland).