Professor Liam McIlvanney, the son of novelist William McIlvanney, was born in Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, and studied at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After ten years lecturing in Scottish and Irish literature at the University of Aberdeen, he moved to Dunedin in New Zealand to teach at the University of Otago. He lectures in Scottish literature, culture and history, and on Irish-Scottish literary connections, and holds the Stuart Professor of Scottish Studies chair at the University.
He won a Saltire Award for his first book, Burns the Radical, in 2002. A chance meeting with an editor for Faber and Faber persuaded him to turn to fiction, and his first novel, All the Colours of the Town, was published in 2009. He is currently working on a second novel featuring journalist Gerry Conway.
He has also written reviews and criticism for the London Review of Books, The Guardian, and others. He lives in Dunedin with his wife and children.