Kenneth McLeish was born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 10, 1940. He studied music and the classics at Worcester College, Oxford University. Before becoming a full-time author and translator in 1975, he worked as a teacher. He wrote and edited literary guides and cultural companions. His works included Theatre of Aristophanes, Penguin Companion to the Arts in the Twentieth Century, Bloomsbury Guide to Human Thought, Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Myth, Guide to Greek Drama, and The Pocket Guide to Shakespeare. He also wrote Listeners' Guide to Classical Music with his wife. He translated all 47 of the surviving classical Greek plays as well as individual plays by other playwrights. He also wrote a number of original plays and filmscripts including Orpheus and Vice at the Vicarage and adapted The Oresteia with Frederic Raphael for a BBC Television production entitled The Serpent's Tongue. He died on November 28, 1997 at the age of 57.