Emeritus Professor Michael Kirkwood was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1941. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1964 with an MA Honours Degree in German and Russian. He then studied at Moscow State University during the academic year 1964-1965. In 1966 he obtained a post-graduate Diploma in Soviet Studies, University of Glasgow and in 1971 the Degree of MA in Linguistics for English Language Teaching at the University of Lancaster, England. He taught Russian language at the University of Lancaster (1966-1982) as Assistant Lecturer, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. He then taught Russian at the London University School of Slavonic and East European Studies (1982-1992) as Senior Lecturer, then Reader. In 1993 he was appointed to the Chair of Slavonic Languages and Literatures at the University of Glasgow and was Head of the Department of Slavonic Languages and Literatures until his retirement in September 1998.
During his career he regularly published the results of his research in the four domains of Russian Language Pedagogy, Translation Theory and Practice, Soviet Language Policy and Russian Literature (with particular reference to the life and works of the writer Aleksandr Zinov'ev). His books include the following: (with Philip Hanson as co-editor) Alexander Zinoviev as Writer and Thinker, Macmillan, London, 1988; (as editor) Language Planning in the Soviet Union, Macmillan, London, 1989; (as author) Alexander Zinoviev. An Introduction to his Work, Macmillan, London, 1993. He is currently researching Aleksandr Zinov'ev's later writings, particularly those pertaining to the post-Communist era.