Gareth Owen was born in Ainsdale, Lancashire and left school at 16 to serve in the Merchant Navy. For four years he taught in a London Secondary Modern School, before becoming a lecturer in English and Drama at Bordesley College of Education, Birmingham. He began writing his poems for children while a teacher and his first published collection, Salford Road won high praise from fellow poet Patric Dickinson: ‘…original,beautiful, serious, funny, real and imaginative. Nothing quite like it has been done before.’ His second, Song of the City’ won the Signal award. Over the years he has published four further volumes of poetry, the last a collection of football poems: Can We Have Our Ball Back Please? (Macmillan in 2006). His work has been published in over a 100 anthologies.
In addition to the poetry, he has published four novels, as well as books for younger children. An accomplished verse reader, he has won both the Welsh Academy Spoken Poetry Award and the National Speak a Poem Award. For two years he presented the BBC’s long-running "Poetry Please!" Four of his plays have been produced by the BBC, in one of which, 'The Game', he played the lead. In 1993 he was prize winner of the Leeds Playhouse/W.H.Smith Play-Writing Competition. The play became the novel: Rosie No Name and the Forest of Forgetting. He lives in Ludlow, Shropshire where he writes and performs the occasional satirical Country song under the stage name of Virg Clenthills.