Matthew Sharpe was born in New York city during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He grew up in a town in Connecticut not unlike Bellwether, the imaginary town in The Sleeping Father. He's held various jobs: bicycle messenger, door-to-door seafood salesman, carwasher, receptionist. Shortly after graduating from Oberlin College, in Ohio, he went to to New York and worked in the magazine production business for ten years. During this time he got a masters degree in writing from Columbia University and began teaching writing in various public schools in New York. He has also taught at various universities.