Poet and novelist Jem Poster was educated at Henbury Comprehensive, Bristol, and at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he read English.
After a spell as an archaeologist he gravitated towards teaching, first for a number of Cambridge colleges, and then for Cambridge's Institute of Continuing Education. He subsequently joined Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education, where he set up the university's first award-bearing creative writing programme.
His first full-length poetry collection, Brought to Light, was published in 2001, and was followed in 2002 by his first novel, Courting Shadows. His second novel, Rifling Paradise, a psychological thriller set in 19th-century Australia, was published in 2006. He has also edited a selection of poetry by George Crabbe (1986) and is the author of a critical study, The Thirties Poets (1993).
Since 2003, he has held the Chair of Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. He has been Chair of the editorial board of New Welsh Review and is currently Academic Director of the Sunday Times Oxford Literature Festival.