The son of 1930s film actor Hugh Williams and model and actor Margaret Vyner, poet Hugo Williams was born in Windsor, raised in Sussex, and educated at Eton College. He worked at London Magazine from 1961 to 1970 and has also edited poetry for the New Statesman.
Williams’s poems engage themes of personal memory, childhood, and sexuality with a plainspoken yet wry voice. In an interview with The Guardian, Williams discussed the autobiographical element of his work, stating, “You really can't start if you're not going to be completely honest. You have to use everything you know.… [Y]ou do sometimes enter into a sort of doublethink: ‘They won't like it, but they might like it more if it’s well done.’”
Williams is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, including West End Final (2009), Collected Poems (2002), Billy’s Rain (1999), which won the T.S. Eliot Prize, Selected Poems (1989), and his Eric Gregory Award–winning debut, Symptoms of Loss (1965). A selection of his freelance writing appears in the essay collection Freelancing: Adventures of a Poet (1995). His additional honors include the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the Cholmondeley Award.
A columnist for the Times Literary Supplement, Williams lives in London.