In his youth he worked as a day laborer, driver, construction worker and suffered imprisonment for leftist political views and oppositionist activities. His first story appeared in Omid-e Iran magazine, and in 1959 Mahmoud began publishing collections of stories with Mul (The Paramour).
Other collections followed: Darya Hanuz Aram Ast (The Sea Is Still Calm) 1960, Bihudegi (Uselessness) 1962, Za'eri Zir-e Baran (A Pilgrim In The Rain) 1968, Pesarak-e Boumi (The Little Native Boy) 1971, and Gharibeh'ha (The Strangers) 1972. Modern Persian Short Stories (1980) features a translation of his 1969 story "Az Deltangi" (On Homesickness) from A Pilgrim In The Rain. Hamsayeha (The Neighbors) appeared in 1974 and gave him immediate status as a novelist.
Dastan-e Yek Shahr (Story Of One City) was published in 1981. Zamin-e Sukhteh (The Scorched Earth) was published in the spring of 1982 in a limited 11,000 copies, with a second printing a year later of 22,000 copies. The three novels are a continuing saga set in Khuzistan during three important periods: The days of nationalization of oil in 1951, the aftermath of the coup d'état which brought the Shah back to the throne in late August 1953, and Iraq's invasion of Iran in 1980.
In early 1990s Mahmoud published two collections of short stories: Didar (Visiting) 1990, Qesseh-ye Ashna (Familiar Tale) 1991, Az Mosafer Ta Tabkhal (From Passenger To Cold Sore) 1992, Madare-h Sefr Darejeh (Zero Degree Orbit) 1993, Adam-e Zendeh (The Live Human) 1997, and Derakht-e Anjir-e Ma'abed (The Fig Tree Of The Temples) 2000.
Mahmoud died of respiratory failure in Tehran at the age of 71.
Short story collections
- Mul (The Paramour), 1957
- Darya Hanuz Aram Ast (The Sea Is Still Calm), 1960
- Bihudegi (Uselessness), 1962
- Za'eri Zir-e Baran (A Pilgrim In The Rain), 1967
- Pesarak-e Bumi (The Little Native Boy), 1971
- Gharibeh-ha (The Strangers), 1971
- Didar (Visiting), 1990
- Qesseh-ye Ashna (Familiar Tale), 1991
- Az Mosafer ta Tabkhal (From Passenger To Cold Sore), 1992
- Hekayat-e Hal (The Story Of My Condition Now), a long interview with Ahmad Mahmoud by Ms. Lily Golestan, 1995
- Hamsayeh-ha (The Neighbors), 1974
- Dastan-e Yek Shahr (Story Of One City), 1981
- Zamin-e Sukhteh (The Scorched Earth), 1982
- Madar-e Sefr Darajeh (The Zero Degree Orbit), 1993
- Adam-e Zendeh (The Live Human), 1997
- Derakht-e Anjir-e Ma'abed (The Fig Tree Of The Temples), 2000