Robert Porter was born in 1946 in London. He studied Russian and Czech at Leeds University and was appointed to a Lectureship at Bristol University in 1974, from where he gained his PhD. He was appointed to a Personal Chair there in 1999, but in that same year was offered the Chair of Slavonic Studies at Glasgow University. He retired formally in 2005 from Glasgow but continued to teach occasionally and to examine at various universities. He was Visiting Professor at Columbia University, New York for a semester in 2006. He has lectured at various universities in The Czech Republic. His numerous publications include Four Contemporary Russian Writers, Russia's Alternative Prose, Solzhenitsyn's One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and An Introduction to Twentieth Century Czech Fiction.