Mahmud Rahman was born in Dhaka, in what was then East Pakistan. His writing life began at twelve when he hammered out — with the help of a jerry-rigged Royal typewriter — six carbon copies of a newspaper and pasted them on the walls of his school in old Dhaka. He came of age in the midst of the upsurge of the late sixties that led to the creation of Bangladesh. During the 1971 war, he was a refugee in Calcutta. In his adult life, he has lived in US cities including Boston, Detroit, Providence and Oakland. He has worked as a factory worker, data entry operator, community organizer and database support techie. Since the early nineties his writing focus has shifted largely to fiction. The stories in his first book Killing the Water were mostly completed between 1996 and 2008. During part of that time, he completed an MFA in creative writing from Mills College.