Gough grew up near Heathrow Airport in London before moving to Nenagh aged seven. He was studying English and philosophy at University College Galway in the late 1980s when he and some friends founded Toasted Heretic. The band went on to record four albums and had one top ten hit, "Galway and Los Angeles", in 1992.
His first novel, Juno & Juliet, was published in 2001 by Flamingo, almost a decade after Toasted Heretic split up. His second novel, Jude: Level 1, was published in 2007 at Old Street Publishing, shortly after he won the 2007 National Short Story Award for the book's first chapter, titled "The Orphan and the Mob". In 2010, Salmon Poetry released Gough's first poetry collection, Free Sex Chocolate, which juxtaposes Gough's more recent forays into poetry with his earlier lyrics written for Toasted Heretic. He is also the author of several short stories and novellas that satirize global economic policies, including 2003's Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble and CRASH! How I Lost a Hundred Billion and Found True Love. In 2015, Gough signed a book deal with Picador.
In 2007, he rebelled against the decision to award the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize to writer Will Self. Gough, who was nominated alongside Self, stole the prize, a pig, to keep for himself. In early 2010, Gough wrote an article on the state of Irish literature, "slamming fellow Irish novelists", on his personal website. Gough's novel Jude in London came third in the 2011 Guardian Not The Booker prize after the author threatened to share pictures of him "wearing only the [Not The Booker trophy] mug" shall he win the competition.
In 2018, Julian published CONNECT a novel that had been in development since 2012. With the writing of this epic novel spanning six years, it was also written all over the world including the cities of Edinburgh, Berlin, Las Vegas, Dublin, Limerick, and Singapore.
- I Totes Love the Christian Brothers (Self-published)
- Juno & Juliet (Flamingo) ISBN 978-0-00-710810-7
- Jude: Level 1 (Old Street) ISBN 978-1-905847-24-2
- Free Sex Chocolate (Salmon Poetry) ISBN 978-1-907056-36-9
- Jude in London (Old Street) ISBN 978-1-905847-83-9
- CONNECT a novel (Doubleday) ISBN 978-0-385541-33-6
- Trapped in a Stephen King Story: My Spiraling Descent into Madness (Macmillan, forthcoming)
- Minecraft End Game Poem (End) http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/End_Poem
- Barter, Pavel (27 April 2014). "Making the Leap". The Sunday Times (Irish edition) – via NewsBank.
- Gough, Julian (2 October 2005), "The bedsit of horrors - Time and place", The Sunday Times (Irish edition) – via NewsBank
- Murphy, Peter (4 June 2009), "Choose your top 20 indie moments!", Hot Press
- "Writer Profile Julian Gough". Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- "BBC National Short Story Award". Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- "salmonpoetry.com Free Sex Chocolate – Poems and Songs". Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- "The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble - Julian Gough's website". www.juliangough.com. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
- "Julian Gough signs major book deal with Picador". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
- Julian Gough (17 September 2007). "A New Way With Words". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
The traditional division between the novel and short story is becoming increasingly blurred
- Julian Gough (26 May 2007). "Divine Comedy". Prospect Magazine. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
It's time writers got back to the serious business of making us laugh
- Julian Gough (2010). "Reality is a Bananaskin on Which we Must Step". A Public Space. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Hugo Rifkind (30 May 2008). "Will's Bacon Saved From Chop". timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- "Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize". MailOnline. 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- Alison Flood (11 February 2010). "Julian Gough slams fellow Irish novelists as 'priestly caste' cut off from the culture". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
We've abolished the Catholic clergy, and replaced them with novelists says writer, describing his peers as a pompous, provincial literary community.
- Julian Gough (10 February 2010). "The State of Irish Literature 2010". Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- Jordison, Sam (18 October 2011). "Not the Booker prize: we have a winner!". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Jordison, Sam (18 August 2011). "Not the Booker prize 2011: the shortlist". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Tom Chatfield (9 January 2012). "Ending an endless game: an interview with Julian Gough, author of Minecraft's epic finale". Boing Boing. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- Julian Gough (2018), CONNECT a novel, Doubleday