Nigel Jenkins was born in south Wales and studied literature and film at Essex University. For a short spell he worked as a roustabout on a travelling circus in the USA. He returned to live in Wales in 1976 and has earned his living since then as a full-time writer and freelance lecturer.
His volumes of poetry include Song and Dance (Poetry Wales Press, 1981), Practical Dreams (Galloping Dog Press, 1983), Acts of Union: Selected Poems 1974-1989(Gomer Press, 1990) and Ambush (Gomer Press, 1998). The University of Wales Press published his critical biography of the poet John Tripp in 1989. He has written two stage plays and worked as a journalist for the BBC, Arcade, Planet, Wales on Sunday, and Western Mail; he was editor both of the Welsh Union of Writers’ magazine, The Works, and the Union’s tributary volume, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Tony Conran (1995).
He was elected to the Welsh Academy in 1978. Awards include an Eric Gregory Award for poetry (1976) and the John Morgan Writing Award (1991) which enabled him to travel to India to research the influence of Welsh missionaries on the Khasi hilltribe, resulting in a BBC television film and S4C documentary series, and two books. Nigel is currently employed as editor of the Academi Encyclopaedia of Wales. He was elected to the Gorsedd, as a druid, in 1998.