Jeff Torrington (1935–2008) was born in the Gorbals, Glasgow. He had a wide-ranging career, working as a packing-case nailer, a cinema projectionist, a fruit-market porter, labourer, postman and as a fireman on the railways. He wrote novels and short stories, drawing on the changing face of modern Scotland. His first novel Swing Hammer Swing! took 30 years to write and won the 1992 Whitbread Book of the Year Award.