About

Alison MacLeod is a novelist and short story writer.  Her most recent book, the story collection all the beloved ghosts, was published this year by Bloomsbury UK, Bloomsbury USA and Penguin Canada.   It was a finalist for Canada’s 2017 Governor General’s Award for Fiction.  MacLeod’s most recent novel,  Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton UK and Penguin Canada), was long-listed for the 2013 Man-Booker Prize for Fiction and was one of the Observer‘s ‘Books of the Year’.  It was serialised for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book at Bedtime’ (Sweet Talk Productions) and has been optioned for film.

MacLeod was born in Montreal, Quebec of Nova Scotian parents and was raised primarily in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Her family’s roots in Halifax and Cape Breton are several-generations deep on both sides of her family, and she has extended visits with family there each year.  She has lived in England since 1987 and is a citizen of both Canada and the U.K.  Brighton, England is her adopted home.  It reminds her of Halifax, with its hilliness, its waterfront and its university-town life.

Her earlier work includes the novels The Changeling (1996) and The Wave Theory of Angels (2005), and the short story collection, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (2007). Her short fiction has been awarded The Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Award and nominated for The BBC National Short Story Award and The Sunday Times EFG International Short Story Award. Her stories are often broadcast on BBC radio.

In 2016, she and William Atkins were jointly awarded The Eccles British Library Writer’s Award.  The award is made possible by the generosity of the Eccles Centre at the British Library.  The Centre promotes awareness of the North American and Caribbean collection at the British Library, the largest collection outside the U.S. 

Alongside her writing, MacLeod has served as a judge for The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, The Mslexia Prize for Fiction, The International Manchester Fiction Prize, The London Magazine Short Story Prize, and The Charleston-Chichester Award.  She is Associate Editor of Short Fiction in Theory and Practice (Intellect Books) and has been a guest on the BBC programmes Open Book, Front Row, Free ThinkingThe Verb and Woman’s Hour.  

She has appeared at numerous literary festivals, including The Sunday Times Oxford Festival,  The Cambridge Literary Festival, The International Small Wonder Short Story Festival, The Cork International Short Story Festival, The Gaelic Feis of Cape Breton, The Charleston International Festival, The Jaipur Literature Festival, The International Festival of Authors (Toronto), and The Hong Kong International Literary Festival.

She has been an occasional contributor to The Sunday Times, the Guardian, Prospect and The Ottawa Citizen, and has undertaken writing residencies with The Banff Centre (Canada), Raffles Hotel (Singapore),The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft (UK), and the British Library’s Eccles Centre.

MacLeod is Professor of Contemporary Fiction (on a part-time basis) at the University of Chichester, UK.   She also teaches and mentors for groups such as the Arvon Foundation and New Writing South.

For news of her upcoming readings and events, click on the ‘News’ tab above.

 author image (2015) © Kate MacLeod Photography