Norman William Alford was born in Croydon, Surrey, England. He obtained a B.A. in English from the University of London in 1962, an M.A. in English from Birbeck College, University of London in 1964, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas in 1966. He taught school in Sussex, Ceylon, and Southern Rhodesia during the 1950s and also worked at the Federal Ministry of Education for Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1961 to 1962. He came to the University of Victoria in 1964, first as a student and later as a professor, and taught in the Department of English. After leaving the University of Victoria, he moved to Mexico in 1984. Throughout his career, Alford has published novels, short stories and scholarly works, including a book about the Rhymers' Club. Some of his stories, including "Allergy" and "Bungalow", have been published in the Malahat Review.