Born in Pakistan and spent his early childhood in Nairobi. He went to university in Lahore, Pakistan, becoming a lecturer there. He then took two years off to travel around Europe and the Americas before coming to live and work in the UK.
His novels have been translated into many languages. In his writings he tends to portray the lives of social outcasts, loners, losers, the deprived and the dispossessed. He aims to give voice to the voiceless, reshape and re-form those distorted by time and circumstance, embrace the rejects of this world, dignify 'trash' - white, tinted or tainted - and make visible the invisible.