But despite his early interest in literature, it was science where Andrew decided his future lay… for a while, at least.
Born in Glasgow in 1962, Andrew went on to study for a first class honours degree in mathematics and theoretical physics at St Andrew’s University before becoming a research associate at Leeds University. Realising he had gone as “far in science as he wanted to go”, he took up a position at Westfield School in Gosforth, Newcastle, teaching mathematics and physics. But he found himself drawn back to his first love, writing, jotting ideas down in between lessons.
This ‘jotting’ led to Andrew’s first novel, Music in a Foreign Language, which was published in 1994 and won the prestigious Saltire First Book Award. The success continued with D’Alembert’s Principle, Pfitz and Mr Mee but it was his 2004 novel, the Man Booker Prize-nominated Mobius Dick, which led to Andrew being hailed as one of Britain’s most promising original writers.
Alongside his writing, in 1996 Andrew became a regular book reviewer for Scotland on Sunday and was appointed literary editor in 2000. He has also taught creative writing workshops at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, and at Morden Tower, and his work featured in a recently published anthology of North East writers, Magnetic North.
After several years of commuting to Edinburgh, winning the award means that Andrew can give up his day job. “I entered the competition with the hope that I would win but it was still a fantastic surprise to receive the call telling me that I had been chosen. It took a while to sink in," he says. "For the last six years I've been juggling a part-time job as literary editor of Scotland on Sunday along with writing my novels and helping bring up two young children. Now I can concentrate all my working hours on writing, and I can also have more time for the things that make writing worthwhile, including being with my family."
Those extra hours of writing freedom will mean that Andrew will also be able to spend more time with Robert Coyle, the star of his new novel, Sputnik Caledonia, the work-in-progress which won him the award. For more information about Andrew and his work, see www.crumey.co.uk.