Alastair Macdonald was born and educated in the United Kingdom.
He received degrees from Aberdeen University, Christ Church, Oxford, and the Victoria University of Manchester. From 1955 to 1987 he was a member of the English Department of Memorial University of Newfoundland where he was a Professor Emeritus. His poems have been included in numerous anthologies and magazines. He was a member of the Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador, the League of Canadian Poets, and the Scottish Poetry Library Association.