William (Billy) Letford comes from Stirlingshire and worked in various jobs and in his family’s roofing business in his twenties. Letford found happiness in hiding his poetry in the buildings he worked on, distributing his poetry anonymously, to be discovered years later. He went on to do an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.
After finishing his studies, he received a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2008, and an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary. This enabled him to go to Northern Italy where he helped in the restoration of a medieval village. A later Creative Scotland Artists’ Bursary allowed him to spend six months travelling through India; one of the destinations being Havelock Island, where he consequentially met his future wife.
He has taken part in translation projects through Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, and travelled to India with the Commonwealth Poets United project in 2014.
In 2014 a chapbook of his poetry, Potom Koža Toho Druhého, was published by Vertigo in Slovakian. His work has appeared on radio and television, and he has performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, StAnza and .
Carcanet published his debut collection Bevel in 2012, which focused on his time as a roofer, while his second, Dirt (2016) moved away from that initial persona. More recently, he has been creating poetry installations for the public to stumble on under the concept ‘if you can’t find his poetry – his poetry will find you!’ while his next collection, From Our Own Fire, a ‘sci-fi prose and poetry tour de force’, is due out in August 2023.