Sally Magnusson was born on October 11, 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland. She is the daughter of the late broadcaster and writer Magnús Magnússon. Her mother, Mamie Baird, also worked as a journalist. She studied English Language and Literature at Edinburgh University before starting her journalistic career on the Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh followed by the Sunday Standard in Glasgow. She is a broadcaster and writer, currently working for BBC Scotland. She is married to director Norman Stone.