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He grew up on the East Coast of the United States of America, including a spell in Columbia, Maryland, which served as the inspiration for his fourth novel The New City. Amidon attended Wake Forest University as a Guy T. Carswell Scholar, majoring in philosophy. He moved to London, UK, in 1987, where he was given his first job as a critic by Auberon Waugh, who invited him to review a novel for The Literary Review. In 1999 he returned to the US.
His literary criticism and essays have appeared in many publications in North America and the UK and he has also worked as a film critic for the Financial Times and the Sunday Times. In November, 2013, Amidon was on the jury of the 31st Torino Film Festival. Amidon has written two non-fiction books: The Sublime Engine with his brother Tom, a cardiologist, and Something Like the Gods  which is dedicated to his son, Alexander, a first-team, all-ACC wide receiver for the Boston College football team.
Stephen Amidon sold his first work of fiction in 1989, when the short story "Echolocation" was chosen by Ian Hamilton for inclusion in the Bloomsbury anthology Soho Square II. He was awarded an Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for the short story in 1990. He is the author of a collection of short stories and six novels, the most recent of which, The Real Justine, was released in 2015. His fiction has been published in fifteen countries. The novel Human Capital was chosen by Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post as one of the five best works of fiction of 2004. A film adaptation of the novel, Human Capital (Il capitale umano) directed by Paolo Virzì, won best film at the 2014 David di Donatello, Nastro d'Argento, and Globi D'Oro Awards,
The film premiered in America at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and it was Italy's entry for best foreign language film at the 2015 Academy Awards. In February 2015, Teatro Stabile di Torino premiered 6BIANCA, a serial drama, written by Stephen Amidon and directed by Serena Sinigaglia.
- Splitting the Atom, 1990
- Thirst, 1993
- The Primitive, 1995
- The New City, 2000
- Human Capital, 2004
- Security, 2009
- The Real Justine, 2015
Short Story Collection
- Subdivision : Stories, 1991
- The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart, 2011
- Something Like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron, 2012
- 6Bianca - episodes 1-6, 2015 - directed by Serena Sinigaglia
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- "Football Roster". Boston College Athletics. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- Atlantic Coast Conference. "All ACC Football Team". Retrieved 15 January 2013.
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- "Italy Picks Paolo Virzi's 'Human Capital' As Its Foreign Oscar Contender". Variety. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
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- Castellazzi. "Chiara". Il Sole 24ore. Retrieved 28 March 2015.