A specialist in British literature of the nineteenth century, MacLeod taught English for three years at the University of Indiana before accepting a post in 1969 at the University of Windsor where he remains a professor of English and Creative Writing to this day. What is most amazing about the career of Alistair MacLeod is that his great critical reputation stems from a mere 14 short stories, collected in The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986).
In 1999, he published his first novel, No Great Mischief, which follows the lives of several generations of a family that emigrates from Scotland to Cape Breton. Written over the course of 13 years, No Great Mischief was published to great critical acclaim and is already in the process of being translated into a number of different languages. Nominated for all of Canada's major literary awards, the novel was awarded the Trillium Prize. The success of No Great Mischief was followed in 2000 by Island.