Sinclair grew up in North London and was educated at the
University of East Anglia (BA, PhD), the
University of California, Santa Cruz, and at the
University of Exeter.
He was first published as a novelist in 1973, going on to become better known as a writer of short stories. He was the winner of the
Somerset Maugham Award for the collection Hearts of Gold in 1981. In 1983, he was recognised in
Granta's list of Best Young British Novelists.
 He has since published several novels and collections of shorter fiction, in addition to non-fiction, such as biography and travel writing. His stories, interviews, travel pieces and reviews have appeared in a wide range of publications, including
Encounter, The Year’s Best Horror Stories, New Review,
Between 1983 and 1987 he was literary editor of the
Jewish Chronicle, and in 1988 he was the British Council Guest Writer-in-residence at the
University of Uppsala, Sweden.
 He has also been the
British Library Penguin Writer's Fellow, as well as a visiting lecturer, most frequently at the
University of East Anglia, but also at the
University of California, Santa Cruz, his special subjects being
gothic fiction, creative writing,
detective fiction, and
His recent books include Clive Sinclair's True Tales of the Wild West, A Soap Opera From Hell: Essays on the Facts of Life and the Facts of Death and Death & Texas.
Sinclair was elected a Fellow of the
Royal Society of Literature in 1983.