Owen Matthews was born in London in 1971. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He began his career as a foreign correspondent in Budapest, Sarajevo and Belgrade during the Bosnian civil war, working for a number of publications including The Times and Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Spectator, the Guardian, the Observer, Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, and the Independent. In 1995 he moved to Moscow and became a correspondent for Newsweek Magazine, covering conflicts in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Chechnya. In 2001 Owen moved to Istanbul and reported from Turkey, the Caucasus, Syria and Iran, as well as covering US-led invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. From 2006 to 2012 he was Newsweek's Moscow Bureau Chief.
Owen's first book on Russian history was STALIN'S CHILDREN, a family memoir, which was published to great critical acclaim in 2008. The book was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Orwell Prize for political writing, and selected as one of the Books of the Year by the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator. It has been translated into 28 languages and was shortlisted for France's Medici Prize and French Elle Magazine's Grand Prix Litteraire, as well as being selected as one of the FNAC chain's 20 featured titles for the Rentree Litteraire of 2009.
Owen is currently a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine, based in Istanbul and Moscow.