A Booker Prize-winning Scottish fiction writer, he is best known for his 1994 work, How Late it Was, How Late. His other works include A Disaffection (novel), The Good Times (short story), and And the Judges Said (essays).
He published his first work, a collection of short stories, in the 1970s.
He won the Saltire Award for his 2008 novel, Kieron Smith, Boy.
He became a prominent political activist in his hometown of Glasgow, Scotland.
His novel, How Late it Was, How Late, was adapted by Kirk Lynn into a 2003 play.