Raised in Tanygrisiau and Blaenau Ffestiniog, Thomas was educated at Ysgol Sir Ffestiniog, University of Wales, Bangor and Jesus College, Oxford; Prof Thomas is presently Emeritus Professor of Welsh at the University of Wales, Bangor.
Gwyn Thomas has published 16 volumes of poetry, several volumes of work as a literary and cultural critic and has also translated the Mabinogion into English. Prof Thomas’s first work as a poet Chwerwder yn y Ffynhonnau (“Bitterness in the Fountains”) was published in 1962, while his latest Apocalups Yfory (“Apocalypse Tomorrow”) was published in 2005. Prof Thomas is also a literary and cultural critic and has published several volumes of essays, critiques, adaptations and translations, including the classic Y Traddodiad Barddol – a study of the classic poetic tradition of Wales. Prof Thomas is also involved with the film industry in Wales, and has helped pioneer techniques to combine poetry and film.
In 2006, Thomas published his autobiography, entitled Bywyd Bach, having being asked to write this as one of the series Cyfres y Cewri (Series of the Giants).
Also in 2006, Thomas was appointed National Poet for Wales by Academi, replacing Wales first national poet Gwyneth Lewis. Thomas said he would use the 12 month appointment to draw attention to the work of Welsh poets.
Gwyn has provied the words for many inspiration books and recently added his touch to an inspirational photographic book entitled Blaenau Ffestiniog.
As Welsh National Poet he was asked to compose a new verse for Hafod Eryri, the new summit building at the top of Snowdon, due to be opened in 2008. To be displayed at the entrance, and on the windows, this will read “Copa’r Wyddfa : yr ydych chwi yma, yn nes at y nefoedd.” (The summit of Snowdon : you are here, nearer to Heaven.)