John O'Farrell (born 27 March 1962) is a British author and comedy scriptwriter. Previously a lead writer for such shows as Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You, he is now best known as a comic author for such books such as The Man Who Forgot His Wife and An Utterly Impartial History of Britain. He is one of a small number of British writers to have achieved best-seller status with both fiction and non-fiction. He has also published three collections of his weekly column for The Guardian and set up Britain’s first daily satirical news website NewsBiscuit. He co-wrote the musical Something Rotten! which opened on Broadway in April 2015 and co-wrote the screenplay for the Aardman Animations film Early Man which will be released in January 2018. In September 2017, he published Things Can Only Get Worse? a sequel to the 1998 political memoir that originally made his name. His books have been translated into around thirty languages and adapted for radio and television.
O'Farrell grew up in Maidenhead, Berkshire, the youngest of three children, attending Courthouse Primary School and then Desborough Comprehensive where he wrote comedy for the school magazine and stood as the Labour candidate in the school's 1979 mock election. His father was a book dealer from Galway, Ireland, his mother was active in Oxfam and Amnesty International. He attended classes at the Redroofs Theatre School and he played Christopher Robin in the West End at the age of ten, and appeared in the horror film From Beyond the Grave with Diana Dors and Donald Pleasence. O'Farrell went on to study English and drama at Exeter University.