Christopher Whyte was born in Glasgow (Scotland) in October 1952, educated there by Jesuits at St Aloysius College, and took the English tripos at Pembroke College, Cambridge between 1970 and 1973. In autumn 1973 he packed a rucksack, put a hundred pounds in his pocket and bought a train ticket to Italy. He spent most of the next 12 years in Rome, teaching under Agostino Lombardo in the Department of English and American Studies at the La Sapienza university from 1977 to 1985.
At that point he returned to Scotland to complete a Ph.D. in Gaelic literature under scholar and poet Derick Thomson (Ruaraidh MacThòmais (1928-2012)). From 1986 to 1989 he was lecturer in the Department of English Literature of the University of Edinburgh, then from 1990 to 2005 he taught in the Department of Scottish Literature of the University of Glasgow, rising from lecturer to reader.
It was while in Scotland that he began publishing his first poems in Gaelic, in 1987. Eight years later the first of his four novels appeared. At the same time, he was a lively presence on the cultural and academic scene, producing innovative and authoritative texts which also marked the first intersection of gay and queer studies with the discipline of Scottish literature.
Whyte took early retirement in 2005 and moved to live in Budapest, where he writes full-time. Since 2013 he has divided his time between Budapest and Venice.