John Agard

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Playwright, poet, children’s and short story writer John Agard was born in 1949 in British Guiana (now Guyana). He worked for the Guyana Sunday Chronicle as a sub-editor and feature writer before moving to England in 1977, where he became a touring lecturer for the Commonwealth Institute, travelling to schools throughout the UK to promote a better understanding of Caribbean culture.

His published poetry includes Man to Pan (1982), winner of the Casa de las Américas Prize; Limbo Dancer in Dark Glasses (1983); Mangoes and Bullets: Selected and New Poems 1972-84 (1985); Weblines (2000) and We Brits (2006), which was shortlisted for the 2007 British Book Awards Decibel Writer of the Year award.

He is also the author of many children’s books, including Lend Me Your Wings (1987), which was shortlisted for the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. He has contributed to, and edited, several anthologies, including The Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse (1986), and is also co-editor of A Caribbean Dozen (1994) with his partner, the poet Grace Nichols, with whom he also co-wrote No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock  in 1991. Their latest collaboration is Pumpkin Grumpkin (2011), a collection of nonsense poems from around the world, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. His retelling of Dante’s Inferno, Young Inferno, also illustrated by Kitamura, is due to be published early in 2012.

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