Jonathan Harvey was born in Halewood, Liverpool, England, in 1968. After leaving school, he entered and won the Liverpool Playhouse writing contest. Considering his mediocre school career, the modest cash reward seemed a good enough reason to start writing. The resulting play, The Cherry Blossom Tree, encompassed the themes of suicide, murder, and nuns. Despite his success in the Royal Court Writers' Festival, Harvey decided to switch careers and become a teacher in 1988. However, a call from the director of the Royal Court Young People's Theatre, offering him a commission to write a play, brought him back to writing plays for a living. Since that time, Harvey has written a number of plays including Wildfire, which ran at the National Theatre Studio; Babies, a semi-autobiographical story of a young gay teacher; and Boom-Bang-A-Bang, Harvey's most comical play, centered around a group of friends who gather to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. His play Beautiful Thing, a coming-of-age drama about two gay men, was adapted for the big screen and released by Sony Pictures Classics in 1996.