Joseph Ridgwell is a working-class writer who grew up on a council estate in East London and left school with no qualifications.
Ridgwell worked a series of menial jobs. He has worked as a butchers boy, apprentice upholsterer, tile warehouseman, common labourer, toy salesman, carpet salesman, hospital porter, peanut vendor, and various call centres.
At nineteen he was stabbed in a bar brawl and decided to leave the UK, travel the world, and learn how to write.
Ridgwell has lived in Cuba, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Belize and finally Thailand where he ran a bar. During his travels he lived in a shack, a boat, a bar, a brothel, bedsits and with strangers from all over the world.
On his return to the UK Ridgwell was employed in a series of white-collar jobs, including over ten years in the British civil service.
In 2021 Ridgwell was the recipient of a Royal Literary Society grant for Literary Merit.
In 2020 Ridgwell was the recipient of a Creative Scotland Arts Grant to write his latest book – The Island.
Ridgwell brings back stories from the edge, infused with humour, sex, philosophy, hope, defiance, brutality and truth. He has had numerous collections of poetry and prose published and is a cult figure of the literary underground both in the UK and abroad. Since 2011 Ridgwell has resided in Scotland.