Robert Crawford was born in Belshill, Lanarkshire, and studied at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford, where W. N. Herbert was a fellow student – Sharawaggi, their joint book of poems in Scots, was published by Polygon in 1990. A prolific writer both of poetry and literary criticism, his literary history, Scotland’s Books (2007) won the Saltire Scottish Research Book of the Year Award and his biography of Robert Burns, The Bard (2009) won the overall Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. His book The Beginning and the End of the World: St Andrews, Scandal, and the Birth ofPhotography was published in 2011, as was his collaboration with photographer Norman McBeath, Simonides. His most recent prose books are Bannockburns: Scottish Independence and Literary Imagination 1314-2014 (Edinburgh University Press, 2014) and the biography Young Eliot: From St Louis to ‘The Waste Land’ (Cape and Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015).
Crawford has published nine collections of poetry and a selected poems (2005). Full Volume (Cape, 2008) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize; four of his collections have been Poetry Book Society Recommendations and he has won two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards. Most recently he has collaborated with photographer Norman McBeath to produce limited edition sets of poems and images. With Simon Armitage he edited The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 (1998) and with Mick Imlah The New Penguin Book of Scottish Verse (2000). In 2016 he editedThe Book of Iona, published by Polygon. A founding editor of the magazine Verse, he has served as a judge for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the National Poetry Competition, and other awards. From 2014-16 he led the Royal Society of Edinburgh-supported Arts and Humanities Research Network, ‘Loch Computer’. Robert Crawford is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy, and is Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews.