Alan Riach was born in Airdrie in 1957. He studied English literature at Cambridge University from 1976-79. He completed his PhD in the Department of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University in 1986. His academic career has included positions as a post-doctoral research fellow, senior lecturer, Associate Professor and Pro-Dean in the Faculty of Arts, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand 1986-2000. He returned to Scotland in January 2001 and is currently the Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.