Kate Macdonald works in publishing and is a literary historian. She won the Scottish National Youth Theatre playwriting competition in 1980, for which Ali Smith was a runner-up. She has degrees in medieval and modern English literature, and was an archaeological editor for English Heritage. One of her SFF short stories was selected for the 2019 volume of Best of British Science Fiction. She is from north-east Scotland and the west of England and has a confusing accent.