Patrick Kavanagh was born in 1950 in St. John's, Newfoundland. He began to compose his own short fiction while working in Papua New Guinea as a development volunteer. In 1992 he moved to Hong Kong and then to Beijing, where he studied the Chinese language, assisted in a Chinese translation of James Joyce's Ulysses, and completed his first novel, Gaff Topsails. Published in 1996, Gaff Topsails was a commercial and critical success. It is now in its second printing. Patrick lives in Ottawa.