Born into a Methodist Dublin family, he was educated at Newtown School in Waterford and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin. He became a professor of Spanish literature at Belfast and London universities before moving to Spain. His first novel, Viento del Sur (Wind of the South, 2001), written in Spanish, examines class, religion, family life, and public schools in British society through the fictitious autobiography of a character named John Hill, an English linguist and academic. It won favourable reviews in Spain.
Gibson has also worked in television on projects centering around his scholarly work in Spanish history, having served as a historical consultant and even acting in one historical drama.
He was granted a Spanish passport in 1984.
eBook Vida, pasion y muerte de Federico Garcia Lorca 1898-1936/ Federico Garcia Lorca, A Life