Rolf Knight was born in 1936, and grew up in Vancouver and in the resource workers' camps of the British Columbia coast, where he worked until the late 1950s.
After earning a BA and MA from the University of British Columbia, he travelled for some years before getting his PhD from Columbia University in New York in 1968. He returned to Canada and taught at the University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Toronto, until leaving academia for good in 1977, supporting his writing as a labourer, driving taxi and handling baggage at the Vancouver International Airport.
Rolf Knight is the author of numerous important books about BC history, including A Very Ordinary Life (with Phyllis Knight) (1974), A Man of Our Times (with Maya Koizumi) (1976), Indians at Work (1978; reissued 1996), Along the No. 20 Line (1980; reissued 2011> and Homer Stevens: A Life In Fishing (1992). In 1992 he received the Canadian Historical Association's award for his contributions to regional history. He lives in Burnaby, BC.