Philip was born in the East End of London. He studied painting at St Martin’s School of Art and his work has been exhibited widely throughout Europe and Japan. As well as three books for adults (Crocodilia, In The Eyes of Mr Fury and Flamingos in Orbit) – and the highly acclaimed screenplay for the The Krays feature film (winner of The Evening Standard Best Film of the Year Award) – he has written many highly regarded and hugely influential stage plays: the seminal The Pitchfork Disney, the multi-award-winning The Fastest Clock in the Universe, Ghost from a Perfect Place, Vincent River, Mercury Fur, Leaves of Glass, Piranha Heights, Tender Napalm (nominated for the London Fringe Best Play Award), Shivered (nominated Off-West End Best New Play Award), Dark Vanilla Jungle (winner of an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award), Radiant Vermin, and Tonight With Donny Stixx, plus several plays for young people: Karamazoo, Fairytaleheart, Moonfleece (named as one of the 50 Best Works About Cultural Diversity by the National Centre for Children’s Books), Sparkleshark and Brokenville (collectively known as The Storyteller Sequence), and a play for the whole family, Feathers in the Snow (shortlisted for the Brian Way Best Play Award).
He has also written novels for children, including Scribbleboy (shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal), Kasper in the Glitter (nominated for the Whitbread Prize), Mighty Fizz Chilla (shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award), ZinderZunder, Vinegar Street, Zip’s Apollo and the bestseller Krindlekrax (winner of both the Smarties Prize and WH Smith’s Mind-Boggling Books Award), the stage play of which – adapted by Philip himself – was premiered at the Birmingham Rep Theatre in 2002.
He has also directed three feature films from his own screenplays: The Reflecting Skin – winner of eleven international awards (including the prestigious George Sadoul Prize) – The Passion of Darkly Noon (winner of the Best Director Prize at the Porto Film Festival) and Heartless (winner of The Silver Meliers Award for Best Fantasy Film). For the latter two films, Philip co-wrote a number of original songs, one of which, Who Will Love Me Now? (performed by P.J. Harvey) was voted BBC Radio 1’s Top Film Song of 1998 and has since been covered by the techno-house band Sunscreem (as Please Save Me), becoming both a club and viral hit.
In 2010 Philip, along with song-writing collaborator Nick Bicât, formed the music group Dreamskin Cradle and their first album, Songs from Grimm, is available on iTunes, Amazon and all major download sites. Philip is also a performance artist in his own right, and his highly-charged readings of his ongoing poetry sequence Lovesongs for Extinct Creatures (first embarked on when he was a student) have proved increasingly popular in recent years.
In 2012 What’s On Stage named him a Jubilee Playwright (one of the most influential British writers to have emerged in the past six decades). Philip has won both the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Newcomer to British Film and Most Promising Playwright Awards. The only person ever to receive both prizes.