He attended Kirkcaldy High School and Edinburgh University, then studied for a D.Phil at Lincoln College, Oxford. His doctoral thesis on the literary scene of the Fifties was published by Faber as the book Success Stories in 1988. His subsequent works are the comic travel books Here We Go and The Last Pink Bits, the novels Friday Night Club and The Third Party, and a book about English grammar, English for the Natives (John Murray).
Ritchie edited the anthology New Scottish Writing, and contributed an essay to Nick Hornby's anthology of football writing, My Favourite Year, about his lifelong passion for Raith Rovers, his hometown football club.
Ritchie lives in London with the journalist and broadcaster Tracey MacLeod.
- Webster, Justin (21 June 1993). "The Independent". Mind-expanding packages for a misfit on the Costa. London.
- Berry, Leigh Ann. "Book Review: The Last Pink Bits: Travels Through the Remnants of the British Empire (by Harry Ritchie)". history.net.
- Falconer, Helen. "The Guardian". Nice Guys Finish First.
- Hagestadt, Emma (5 September 2006). "Review: The Third Party, by Harry Ritchie". London: The Independent.
- Hodder & Stoughton. "English For The Natives".
- Macdougall, Carl. "In Good Company". The Herald.
- Blake, Robin (2 January 1994). "Two ends, one great goal". London: The Independent on Sunday.