Born in Glasgow in 1947, Alan Spence is an award-winning poet, novelist and playwright. His first poetry collection, Plop!, was published in 1970 and has since written several more collections. He is considered to be the leading Scottish haiku writer, with collections including Seasons of the Heart and Clear Light. Haiku and another Japanese poetry form, tanka, feature in his most recent novel, The Pure Land, which is set in 19th century Japan and tells the true story of Scotsman Thomas Blake Glover.
He has won a Scottish Arts Council Book award three times, was the SAC Scottish Writer of the Year in 1995, and in 2006 won the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland (Writing) Award in 2006. Alan Spence now lives in Edinburgh with his wife, where they run the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. He is Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen, and has been Artistic Director of the Aberdeen Word Festival since 1999.