A top-selling English author, he is best known for his novels High Fidelity (1995) and About a Boy (1998), both of which were made into popular films. His 1992 autobiographical work, Fever Pitch, won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and was also adapted into a film.
He studied English at Jesus College, Cambridge. Early in his literary career he received the W.H. Smith Award for Fiction for his 2001 novel, How to Be Good.
He published his first young adult novel, Slam, in 2007.
His first marriage produced one child. With his second wife, Amanda Posey, he had two more sons. He is the brother of fellow author, Gill Hornby.
His novel, About a Boy, was made into a feature film starring Hugh Grant .