Aamer Hussein was born in Karachi and after a short period studying in India moved to London in 1970 at the age of fifteen. After graduating from SOAS, he worked briefly for Merchant Ivory Pictures before beginning to publish both fiction and criticism in journals in 1987.
Hussein’s first book, Mirror to the Sun (1993), was followed by This Other Salt (1999), Turquoise (2002), Cactus Town (2002) and Insomnia (2007). His novella Another Gulmohar Tree (2009) was nominated for a Commonwealth Award. Hussein's first novel The Cloud Messenger appeared in 2011, to be followed by a series of Urdu short stories – his first – in the Karachi journal Dunyazad.
Hussein is Professorial Writing Fellow at the University of Southampton, Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Pakistan (SOAS), Senior Editor of Critical Muslim and a contributing editor to Asymptote, a journal of international literary translation. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004.