William Bonar was born in Greenock and grew up in the neighbouring shipbuilding town of Port Glasgow. He graduated from the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde and gained a distinction on the MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University in 2008. After working in education for 30 years he retired to become a full-time writer, becoming a founder member of St Mungo’s Mirrorball, Glasgow’s network of poets and readers of poetry, and was a participant on Mirrorball’s Clydebuilt mentoring scheme (2009-10) under the tutelage of Liz Lochhead. His sequence, ‘Visiting Winter: a Johannesburg quintet’, originally published in Gutter 06, was chosen for the Scottish Poetry Library’s online anthology Best Scottish Poems 2012 and he was shortlisted for a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2015. He published two pamphlets: Frostburn Steel (Dreadful Night Press, 2004) and Offering (Red Squirrel, 2015) which won the James Kirkup Memorial Poetry Prize for 2014.
Billy died in September 2021 and the William Bonar Pamphlet Prize, supported by St Mungo’s Mirrorball and Red Squirrel Press, was founded in his memory.
A collection of poems The Stuff of the Earth was published in 2021.