Colin Spencer was born in London in 1933 and attended Brighton Grammar School and Brighton Art College. From an early age, he was interested in both art and writing and had his first stories published in The London Magazine and Encounter when he was 22.
Spencer’s first novel, An Absurd Affair, was published in 1961, but it was with his second, Anarchists in Love (1963), the first in the four-volume Generation sequence, that he began to garner widespread critical acclaim. Seven more novels followed between 1966 and 1978, including Poppy, Mandragora and the New Sex (1966), Asylum (1966), and Panic (1971), books that one critic has said ‘revel in the eccentric, the bizarre, and the grotesque’.
A man of many talents, Spencer is also a prolific author of non-fiction books, including gay-interest titles like Homosexuality: A History (1995) and The Gay Kama Sutra (1997) and acclaimed works on food and cooking which led Germaine Greer to call him ‘the greatest living food writer’.
More recently, Spencer has devoted himself to painting and to writing a trilogy of autobiographical works, the first of which, the memoir Backing into Light: My Father’s Son, was published by Quartet in 2013. He lives in East Sussex.