Joe Bugeja was born in Floriana in 1930, the eldest of a working class family of ten children who experienced the relative poverty of those times. He earned a B.A. (Hons) in 1964 and an M.A. in 1966, both in English Literature. In 1973, he also read sociology and political science obtaining an M. Litt a post graduate degree, from Oxford University. His teaching career spanned forty-eight years. Joe Bugeja is married to Candida Camilleri, and are parents to two sons, Christopher and Bernard.