Although he was born in Western Australia, Bill Reed was educated in South Australia. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree. His main area of employment has been in the publishing industry, where he has worked as a book editor and journalist, in Canada, England and Australia, and as publishing editor for W. H. and A. W. Reed. He worked as a writer with the Royal Court Theatre, London, during the 1960s, returning to Australia in about 1966.
Reed's unpublished plays include 'Basically Black' (Nimrod Theatre, 1972) and 'Singles' (Nimrod Theatre, May-June 1975). His novel Stigmata also lists unpublished plays 'The Pecking Order', 'The Old Pig Rat', 'Jack Charles is Up and Fighting', 'Just Out of Your Ground' and the one-act play 'English Expression'. In 2006 he won the University of Canberra's National Short Storytelling Competition for his story 'Blind Freddy amongst the Pickle Jars'.
Philip Parsons & Victoria Chance Companion to Theatre in Australia (1995) indicates that Reed wrote 'Paddlesteamer' (1975) under the name 'Barvar Adele'. Other sources give the pseudonym 'Barbara Adele'.