He edited Hugh MacDiarmid's Letters and wrote the influential biography MacDiarmid. Bold had acquainted himself with MacDiarmid in 1963 while still an English Literature student at Edinburgh University. His debut work, Society Inebrious, with a lengthy introduction by MacDiarmid, was published in 1965, during Bold's final university year. This early publication kick-started a prolific poetic career with Bold publishing another three books of verse before the end of the decade, including the ambitious book-length poem The State of the Nation. He also edited The Penguin Book of Socialist Verse (1970) and published a 1973 biography of Robert Burns.
Alan Bold married an art teacher, Alice; they had a daughter, Valentina, who is now head of Scottish Studies at the University of Glasgow at Dumfries. A lifelong heavy drinker who dealt with the boozy life of the poet in such collections as A Pint of Bitter, Bold suffered a heart attack in early 1998 and died in a hospital in Kirkcaldy at the age of 54.
- Society Inebrious Mowat Hamilton, Edinburgh 1965
- The Voyage, 1966
- To Find the New Chatto and Windus, London 1967
- A Perpetual Motion Machine Chatto and Windus, London 1969
- The State of the Nation Chatto and Windus, London 1969
- A Pint of Bitter Chatto and Windus, 1971
- The Penguin Book of Socialist Verse Penguin, 1970
- Biography of Robert Burns, Pitkin Pictorials Ltd, 1973
- Letters of Hugh McDiarmid (edited), 1983
- East Is West a novel, Keith Murray Publishing, 1991