J.G. Farrell was born in Liverpool, England, and spent much of his life abroad. He finally settled in London, where he wrote most of his novels.
His travels included long periods in France and North America. In April 1979, he went to live in County Cork, Ireland, where only four months later, aged 44, he drowned in a fishing accident. In addition to his 1973 Man Booker Prize for The Siege of Krishnapur, his book Troubles was the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize, a special prize awarded in 2010 to honour the books that missed out on the opportunity to win the Booker Prize in 1970 due to an eligibility change that year. His family accepted a designer-bound copy of the novel on his behalf.