Arthur Phillips was born in Minneapolis and educated at Harvard. He has been a child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion.
His first novel, Prague, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and receivedThe Los Angeles Times/Art Seidenbaum Award for best first novel. His second novel, The Egyptologist, was an international bestseller, and was on more than a dozen “Best of 2004” lists. Angelica, his third novel, made The Washington Post best fiction of 2007 and led that paper to call him "One of the best writers in America." The Song Is You was a New York Times Notable Book, on the Post's best of 2009 list, and inspired Kirkus to write, "Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged in the present decade."
His fifth book, The Tragedy of Arthur, was published in 2011 to critical acclaim, including being named a New York Times Notable Book, and being shortlisted for the IMPAC International Literary Prize.
The play taken from that book received its world premiere reading at New York's Public Theater in 2011 and became a full stage production in 2013, under the auspices of the Guerrilla Shakespeare Project.
He has created television series for FX Networks and HBO/Pretty Matches Productions, and has further television pilots in development.
He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.