Anthony Howell was born in London in April 1945 and was educated at Leighton Park, a Quaker school in Berkshire. By 1966 he was dancing with the Royal Ballet. He left ballet shortly after, however, in order to concentrate on his writing.
In 1973 he was a member of the International Writing Program in Iowa. In 1974 he founded The Theatre of Mistakes - a company dedicated to poetic drama - which has performed at the Cambridge Poetry Festival and in art galleries and theatres in Europe and America.