Jason McElligott grew up in Cabra on Dublin's northside. He only developed a love of reading in secondary school under the influence of an inspirational English teacher, Patrick Lillis, in St Paul's CBS, North Brunswick Street ("Brunner"). He studied history at UCD and then read for a Ph.D. in modern history at St. John's College, Cambridge. He is a former Fellow of Merton College, Oxford and since 2011 he has been the Director of Ireland's oldest public library, Marsh's Library. He is currently writing about book thieves in eighteenth-century Dublin.