A native of Kirkcaldy, Tom Hubbard gained his first degree and subsequent PhD from the University of Aberdeen, and a diploma in librarianship from the University of Strathclyde. He was the first Librarian of the Scottish Poetry Library, from 1984 to 1993, before leaving to take lecturing posts in the United States, France and Hungary, which have been followed by visiting professorships in the same countries in the 21st century. He was the Editor of BOSLIT (the Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation) from 2000 to 2004, and worked on a bibliography of Irish literary criticism at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. In 2017 he became an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies.
Hubbard has an international outlook, which is reflected in his novel about Marie Bashkirtsheff (2008), and several of his collections, which comprise his own poems about Europe along with his transcreations into Scots of European poetry. Other publications include six poetry pamphlets; he has written, edited or co-edited several books of literary scholarship, and compiled or co-edited several anthologies of Scottish poetry: The New Makars: the Mercat anthology of contemporary poetry in Scots appeared in1991, and Fringe of Gold: the Fife anthology in 2008.