Ken Barris has won various literary awards, including the M-Net Book Prize, the Ingrid Jonker Prize, the Thomas Pringle and the Vita Award. He has been short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book in Africa, and twice for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Life Underwater is his fifth novel.
His previous novel, What Kind of Child, was published by Kwela Books in 2006. Barris lives in Cape Town, works at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, has three children, and too little time for writing.