Robert Irwin was born in 1946. He was educated at Epsom College and won a major scholarship to Oxford. After a lectureship at St Andrews he became a house-husband and writer, and has continued to produce both fiction and academic work. He is a widely acknowledged expert on The Arabian Nights. His first novel was the celebrated cult book, The Arabian Nightmare (1983), followed by The Limits of Vision (1986), The Mysteries of Algiers (1988), Exquisite Corpse (1995) and Prayer-Cushions of the Flesh (1997). Satan Wants Me, a novel of the occult set in Sixties Britain, is published by Dedalus. His non-fiction includes The Arabian Nights: A Companion (1994) and Islamic Art (1997); his anthology of classical Arabic literature is published by Penguin.