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.
Between 2010 and 2013, Matt worked in front of the camera as 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 and Pedro Almodóvar.
Matt’s 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, launched and hosted the popular #AttitudeHeroes podcast, and ran the Attitude Awards, hosted by Tom Daley, with winners including Prince Harry and Kylie Minogue. He also wrote exclusive reports on his personal experience of HIV prevention drug PrEP, homophobia in Russia, and life for gay people in China.
As a freelance journalist, Matt has written for all the UK’s major newspapers and appeared on Sky News, BBC Breakfast and Good Morning Britain. He has judged the Costa Book Awards, the Polari Prize, the BAFTA TV Awards, and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He has been nominated for Stonewall's Writer of the Year award and in 2017 was voted winner of Diversity in Media's Journalist of the Year award.
In 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 and the project was backed by celebrities including David Walliams, Mark Gatiss, David Nicholls, Lisa Jewell and Gok Wan. The Madonna of Bolton was published by Unbound in 2018.
Matt is an ambassador for both Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, the UK's national youth LGBT+ homelessness charity. He's also a patron of LGBT History Month. In 2021 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton. In 2022 he was awarded the Elli's Rainbow Award by Tupilak, the association of queer cultural workers in the Nordic region.
Matt's novel The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, was published by Headline Review in May 2021. In 2021 he presented the flagship discussion show Sunday Roast on Virgin Radio Pride and returned to the station in 2022 to present Matt Cain Meets. His latest novel, Becoming Ted, was published by Headline Review in January 2023. His first musical, Drag Addict, co-written with David Andrew Wilson, with concept development and choreography by Arlene Phillips, will open at HOME Manchester in July 2023.
Matt now lives in London with his partner, Harry, and their cat, Nelly.