Murray Shelmerdine was born in Newport-upon-Tay in the Kingdom of Fife. He has worked as a ferryman, labourer, driver, teacher, computer programmer, actor, theatre director, journalist and drama critic. A number of his poems and short stories have been published. His plays have been produced in London, Edinburgh, Brussels and New Orleans; one was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He has been the prime mover in an environmental project in a small remnant of ancient woodland in North London since 1998. He can be seen there at weekends leading groups of small children through the trees in search of treasure or battling to save the planet.