Matthew grew up in London and first visited the Himalayas in the mid-1980s, in his late teens. Traveling through Tibet in 1989 changed his life, and he no longer thought of returning to his homeland.
Matthew began to study Tibetan language informally, starting with basic Buddhist teachings. He spent his time traveling mainly in central Tibet, researching its destroyed heritage and the texts that had survived the Cultural Revolution. His main inspiration was a short guidebook by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, of which he eventually published a translation, along with its extended commentary in Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s Guide to Central Tibet (2016).
Meanwhile, he began to specialize in translating from Tibetan to English modern literature and oral history, as well as classical texts, and to research various aspects of cultural history and heritage with an eye to the impact of the rapid changes taking place in the country. When independent research in Tibet became impossible in 2008, he continued working and living in Nepal.
Matthew has served as consultant on a variety of studies of historic and contemporary Tibet, both academic and journalistic. His own publications include The Jebumgang Temple (2019), The Life of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (2012), and Temples of Lhasa (with Andre Alexander, 2005), as well as several book-length translations, and numerous shorter translations and articles.