Don Paterson was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1963. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1990 and his poem A Private Bottling won the Arvon Foundation International Poetry Competition in 1993. He was included on the list of 20 poets chosen for the Poetry Society's 'New Generation Poets' promotion in 1994. In 2002 he was awarded a Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award.
His first collection of poetry, Nil Nil (1993), won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. God's Gift to Women (1997) won the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. The Eyes, adaptations of the work of Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875–1939), was published in 1999. He is also editor of 101 Sonnets: From Shakespeare to Heaney (1999) and of Last Words: New Poetry for the New Century (1999) with Jo Shapcott. His collection of poems, Landing Light (2003), won both the 2003 T. S. Eliot Prize and the 2003 Whitbread Poetry Award. He has also published three collections of aphorisms, The Book of Shadows (2004), The Blind Eye (2007) and Best Thought, Worst Thought (2008). Orpheus, his version of Rilke's Die Sonette an Orpheus, was published in 2006.
Don Paterson teaches in the school of English at the University of St Andrews and is poetry editor for the London publishers Picador. An accomplished jazz guitarist, he works solo and for ten years ran the jazz-folk ensemble, Lammas, with Tim Garland. 
He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in the 2010 New Year Honours. In 2015 Paterson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
|Wave||2014||Paterson, Don (March 3, 2014). "Wave". The New Yorker. 90 (2): 65.|