Ian Smith was born in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, but at the age of 11 moved with his family to the town of Peebles in the Borders region of Scotland. His father, brother and sisters still live there now. Since then, he has lived in England, Switzerland, Japan, Ethiopia, North Korea, Libya and Tunisia, as well as spending shorter stints working in India, the Republic of Ireland, Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Myanmar and Mauritius. He currently lives in Sri Lanka.
In his time he has worked as an academic manager, a bookshop assistant, a cleaner in a skin clinic, a farmhand, a general dogsbody for a consultancy firm (while it was researching the fish-processing area of Aberdeen Harbour), a grape-picker, a hop-picker, a kitchen porter, a member of a nightclub’s floor-staff (his least favourite job ever), a night porter, a project manager, a proof-reader, a supermarket shelf-stacker and truck unloader, a teacher, a teacher-trainer, a trainee journalist, a travel-book researcher, a university lecturer, a volunteer at a school for boys with behavioural issues (or ‘maladjusted boys’ as they were called back in those un-PC days), a warehouseman and a youth hostel warden.
When he finds time, he writes short stories — horror, science fiction and fantasy ones as well as mainstream ‘literary’ ones, as snobby critics like to call them. These have been published in magazines, webzines and newspapers such as Aphelion, the Belfast Telegraph, Blood Moon Rising, Death’s Head Grin, the Dream Zone, the Eildon Tree, Flashes in the Dark, Groundswell, Gutter, Hellfire Crossroads, the Honest Ulsterman, the Horror Zine, Hungur, Legend, the Peeblesshire News, Roadworks, Scratchings, Schlock! Webzine, Sorcerous Signals and Write.
He won the Peebles Art Festival short fiction competition in 1998 and Northern Ireland’s Brian Moore short story of the year competition in 1999. He has also done research and writing about Japan and Ethiopia for the Fodor’s and Footprint guidebooks series and is the author of two non-fiction books about his local football teams in Scotland, Peebles Rovers and Tweeddale Rovers.
His work has appeared under the pseudonyms Jim Mountfield, Eoin Henderson, Steve Cashell, Rab Foster and Paul MacAlister and, occasionally, under his own boring name.