Brian Whittingham was born in Charing Cross, Glasgow. After leaving school at the age of fifteen, he went to work on the Clyde shipyards, progressing to oilrigs and the QE2. Subsequently qualifying as a draughtsman, he managed a design drawing office until 1998. He has drawn on his experiences as steelworker and draughtsman in both poetry and plays; he performed his steel-working poems as part of the BBC’s ‘Ballad of the Big Ships Live’ in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall in 2007.
Whittingham held a writing fellowship at the Yaddo artist colony in New York state in 1994, and in 2008 received a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship at Chevillon Grez in France. In 2011, he was visiting professor of creative writing at Seattle University, and he now lectures in creative writing in the further education sector in Glasgow.
As teacher or facilitator Whittingham has delivered workshops or courses to varied groups, from school pupils to senior citizens. He edited two Scottish literary magazines in the 1990s, and New Writing Scotland from 2006 to 2008. His own poetry is published in five main collections (see selected bibliography, below). Clocking In Clocking Out (reprinted in 2017) is a collection of ‘labour poetry’ completed in America.