For Alan Cumyn, the desire for expression through the written word began early. Born in Ottawa in 1960, he started writing poetry and short stories in high school. After university he spent a year in China as an English as a Second Language teacher. That year abroad sparked a career in international development and human rights. It served as the inspiration for both Cumyn's first novel, Waiting for Li Ming, published by Goose Lane Editions in 1993, and for his popular guide to work and study abroad, What in the World is Going On?, first published in 1988.
He is the author of six critically acclaimed novels, including Burridge Unbound, a finalist for the Giller Prize, and The Sojourn, the novel in which Ramsay Crome first appears. He is working on screenplays for both Burridge Unbound and his comic novel Losing It.