Poet, dramatist and essayist. Born in Glasgow, Leonard was educated at Lourdes Secondary School and the University of Glasgow. At that University, Leonard became a member of a writing group which included Alastair Gray (b.1934) and James Kelman (b.1946). Much of his work deals with the everyday life of the Glasgow working class, with humourous touches, and is written in unpunctuated phonetic Glaswegian. His published works include Six Glasgow Poems (1969), Bunnit Husslin (1975), the play If Only Buntie Was Here (1979), reflections on the Gulf War in On the Mass Bombing of Iraq and Kuwait (1991) and Places of the Mind: The Life and Work of James Thomson (1993).
While Writer-in-Residence at the Renfrew District Libraries (1985-87), Leonard devoted himself to collecting the work of Renfrewshire poets and resulted in the work Radical Renfrew (1990).
He now holds a joint professorship in creative writing with Kelman and Gray at the School of Scottish Studies, run jointly between the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde.