William Hershaw was born in 1957 in Newport on Tay into a family with a coal-mining background. He has been Principal Teacher in English at Beath High School, and wrote two textbooks on the teaching of the Scots language in secondary school.
Hershaw has written poetry in both Scots and English and has published nine collections. His pamphlet Winter Song won the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award in 2003, and he won the McCash Prize for Scots Poetry in 2011.
In 2007 Hershaw collaborated with sculptor David Annand, writing the poem ‘God The Miner’ which is inscribed on the statue ‘The Prop’ as part of the Lochgelly Regeneration Project. He was funded by Fife Council to write musical settings for the poems of the legendary Fife poet and playwright Joe Corrie: in November 2012 Cage Load Of Men: The Joe Corrie Project by The Bowhill Players was released. Grace Note published three of Hershaw’s Scots language plays in 2016, including a translation of Shakespeare’s Tempest, and a novel, Tammy Norrie. His play Iolaire premiered in March 2016 at the Scottish Parliament, performed by pupils from Tynecastle High School and Stenhouse Primary. The Sair Road, with illustrations by Les McConnel, was published in 2018.
Hershaw has co-edited the literary magazine Fras with Walter Perrie.