Rob was born Alistair Robin Gorthy in Liverpool to a Scottish mother and absent Nigerian father. He was brought up at orphanages in Ebley and Painswick, in Gloucestershire. After university in Liverpool he taught in Coventry. He has an MA in Philosophy and Social Theory from Warwick university. Now retired, he lives with his partner, Heather, in Cirencester, where he writes, enjoys theatre, going for walks in the countryside, and birdwatching. He has an abiding interest in US politics, philosophy, and listening to music from Amadeus through to Zappa.