Fred D'Aguiar


Children of Paradise

Feeding the Ghosts


Poet, novelist and playwright Fred D'Aguiar was born in London in 1960 to Guyanese parents. He lived in Guyana until he was 12, returning to England in 1972. He trained as a psychiatric nurse before reading African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury, graduating in 1985. His first collection of poetry, Mama Dot (1985), was published to much acclaim and established his reputation as one of the finest British poets of his generation. Along with Airy Hall (1989), it won the Guyana Poetry Prize in 1989 and was followed by British Subjects (1993). His first novel, The Longest Memory (1994), tells the story of Whitechapel, a slave on an eighteenth-century Virginia plantation, and won both the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread First Novel Award. It was translated into 12 languages and subsequently televised by Channel 4 in the UK. He is also the author of the novels Dear Future (1996) and Bethany Bettany (2003). His long poem 'Sweet Thames' was broadcast as part of the BBC 'Worlds on Film' series in 1992. Fred D'Aguiar's poetry includes Bill of Rights (1998), a long narrative poem about the Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1979; and a long narrative poem, Bloodlines, the story of a black slave and her white lover, published in 2000. His latest poetry collection is Continental Shelf (2009), shortlisted for the 2009 T. S. Eliot Prize. His new novel, Children of Paradise, will be published by Granta in 2014, along with a reissue of his acclaimed novel Feeding the Ghosts.

He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Cambridge University (1989-90), Visiting Writer at Amherst College, Amherst, MA (1992-4), and was Assistant Professor of English at Bates College, Lewiston, ME (1994-5). More recently he was Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Miami and he is currently Professor of English at Virginia Tech.

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