Ray Smith was born in Mabou, Nova Scotia, a beautiful village on the west coast of Cape Breton. Mabou is famous for its fiddlers, step dancers, and singers, especially the Rankin Family. Ray lived in several Nova Scotia towns, but most of his boyhood was spent in Halifax, where he attended Dalhousie University. He left for Toronto as a young man, and eventually moved to Montreal, where he has lived ever since. He taught English literature at Dawson College for many years.
His first book, a collection of experimental short stories entitled Cape Breton is the Thought Control Centre of Canada (1969), was one of the very first works of fiction to be published by the House of Anansi. Widely acknowledged as a milestone of early Canadian postmodernism, this collection was reissued by the Porcupine's Quill in the late eighties. His other works include the novels Lord Nelson Tavern, Century,A Night at the Opera (which won the QSPELL Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction), and, most recently, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen and The Man Who Hated Emily Bronte.