Playwright, poet, short-story and children’s writer, John Agard was born on 21 June 1949 in British Guiana (now Guyana).
He worked for the Guyana Sunday Chronicle newspaper as sub-editor and feature writer before moving to England in 1977, where he became a touring lecturer for the Commonwealth Institute, traveling to schools throughout the UK to promote a better understanding of Caribbean culture. In 1993 he was appointed Writer in Residence at the South Bank Centre, London, and became Poet in Residence at the BBC in London, an appointment created as part of a scheme run by the Poetry Society in London. He also played a key role in the ‘Windrush’ season of programmes in 1998. He won the Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry in 1997 and has travelled extensively throughout the world performing his poetry.
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) and Weblines (2000). 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 From Mouth to Mouth (2004), an anthology of poems handed down from all over the world.
John Agard lives in south-east England. His latest poetry collection is We Brits (2006),
shortlisted for the 2007 British Book Awards Decibel Writer of the Year award.