W.A.Harbinson was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1941. Leaving school at fourteen years of age, he became, first, an apprentice fitter in James Mackie & Sons, Belfast, then an apprentice Gas Fitter with the Mersey Gas Group, Liverpool. At nineteen, he left England to emigrate to Australia, where he joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a trainee telegraphist, then switched to the medical branch. As a medical clerk, he served in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Thailand and Malaysia before receiving his discharge and returning to England in 1967.
W.A.Harbinson wrote his first novel, as well as short stories and articles, while still serving in the RAAF. Before leaving the RAAF, he wrote six 'minor' novels, one of which, The Running Man (1966), was turned into an Australian 'art house' movie, The City's Edge.
After leaving Australia and settling in London, Harbinson worked as a magazine editor while continuing to write a remarkably broad range of novels, biographies, short stories, articles, film adaptations, and some short works for radio.
W.A.Harbinson now divides his time between West Cork, Ireland, and Paris, France. For the past three years, he has been the regular film columnist for the Paris-based English-language cross-cultural magazine, The Eyes. He has also written successful SAS thriller/adventure novels under the pen-name, Shaun Clarke.