Matt Cain was born in Bury and brought up in Bolton. He was educated at state schools and then Cambridge University.
Matt spent ten years making arts and entertainment programmes for ITV, including documentaries about Freddie Mercury, Mamma Mia! and The Da Vinci Code, and profiles of Ian McKellen, Darcey Bussell and Will Young for The South Bank Show.
In 2010, Matt stepped in front of the camera to become Channel 4 News’ first ever Culture Editor, a role in which he attracted acclaim for his coverage of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Mercury Music Prize and the Turner Prize, as well as interviews with Grayson Perry, the Spice Girls, Pedro Almodóvar and Emeli Sandé, and an exclusive look inside Lucian Freud's studio following the artist's death.
In 2013, Matt left Channel 4 News and his first novel, Shot Through the Heart, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2014. The second, Nothing But Trouble, followed in 2015.
Between 2016 and 2018 Matt worked as Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, the UK's biggest-selling magazine for gay men. Whilst in the role he negotiated world-exclusive covers with Sam Smith, Ricky Martin and James Corden, increasing sales by 5.4% year-on-year and advertising revenues by 12%. He launched and hosted the #AttitudeHeroes podcast, featuring guests Paul O’Grady, Gareth Thomas and Mark Gatiss, and attracting over 160,000 listens. He ran the brand's sponsored events; the Attitude Pride Awards, Attitude Bachelors of the Year, and the Attitude Awards, hosted by Tom Daley, with winners including Prince Harry, Kylie Minogue, Laverne Cox and Amanda Holden. He also wrote exclusive reports on his personal experience of HIV prevention drug PrEP, homophobia in Russia, life for gay people in China, and the LGBT+ homelessness crisis here in the UK.
As a freelance journalist, Matt has written articles for The Times, The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, Buzzfeed, The Sun, The Mail, The Express, The Telegraph and The People. He was a judge for the 2013 Costa Book Awards and the Polari First Novel Prize 2014 and continues to judge the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He has been nominated for Stonewall's Writer of the Year award and in September 2017 was voted winner of Diversity in Media's Journalist of the Year award.
In October 2017 Matt crowdfunded his third novel The Madonna of Bolton, after receiving over 30 rejections from publishers, reportedly due to its gay protagonist and theme. The title reached its funding target in seven days, becoming Unbound's fastest-crowdfunded novel ever. Pledges came in from 28 countries, including Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka, where homosexuality is illegal. The project was backed by celebrities including David Walliams, Mark Gatiss, Gok Wan, David Nicholls, SJ Watson, Lisa Jewell and Arlene Phillips. The Madonna of Bolton was published by Unbound in July 2018.
He lives in London.