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Kei Miller

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  • Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978 and has written several books across a range of genres. His 2014 collection, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection while his 2017 Novel, Augustown, won the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Prix Les Afriques, and the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde. He is also an award-winning essayist. In 2010, the Institute of Jamaica awarded him the Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature and in 2018 he was awarded the Anthony Sabga medal for Arts & Letters. Kei has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow. He has taught at the Universities of Glasgow, Royal Holloway and Exeter. He is the 2019 Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor to the University of Iowa and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

    Author photo © Christine Fourie.

    Kei Miller has a page on the Poetry Archive website, where you can listen to recordings of his poetry and access other useful resources. Click here.
    'Lyrical contemplation brings to the fore the Jamaican landscape in which the collection is set and its inextricable relationship to racialized violence... The frequency with which these poems deploy the signifier bush but nevertheless find ways to reimagine its social, political, and aesthetic potentials suggests that we may no sooner exhaust our compulsion for clarity than our desire for obscurity.'
    Joseph Fritsch, Public Books
    'Miller deftly uses caesuras,line breaks and antimetabole to keep the reader pivoting between meanings, between growth and rot.'
    Wasafari
    'Kei Miller has always had a distinct relationship to ideas of place, able - as the best cartographers are - to make sense of territory new or previously overlooked, and point us to why we should be looking there, and what we should be looking for: the stories that are being buried, being forgotten... It's also a sharp reminder that crisis - endings - will find us, wherever we are. What are - what could be - beautiful refuges don't exist, and are the real nowhere places.'
    Rishi Dastidar, Poetry London
    'Kei Miller has always had a distinct relationship to ideas of place, able - as the best cartographers are - to make sense of territory new or previously overlooked, and point us to why we should be looking there, and what we should be looking for: the stories that are being buried, being forgotten... This method of directing us to what we really need to pay attention to, and where it is happening, is at the core of Miller's latest collection'
    Rishi Dastidar, Poetry London

     'There's an innate musicality to his work, especially in his rhythms of speech.'
    The Sunday Times, Twelve poets to read now

    'A tremendous range of writing as excellent Jamaican poets rub shoulders with peers from Haiti, Trinidad and the Bahamas. Diverse and stimulating.'
    Independent on Sunday
    'These captivating poets write from the heart with poems which range from the spare and haunting to the risky and experimental. There are surprises, there is beauty, there are pleasures to be discovered, there is much to be enjoyed.'
    Bernardine Evaristo
    'Some of the most exciting poetry I've read in years. Radiant utterance that speaks of island experiences and gender politics from a deep well of understanding, with empathy, humour and insight. An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace.'
    Olive Senior
    'Raise high the roofbeams, here comes a strong new presence in poetry...Kei Miller's is a voice we will hear much more of, for it speaks and sings with rare confidence and authority.'
    Lorna Goodison
    'The verse movement here, the interplay of sound values in inner rhyme and consonantal pairing, in fact the whole lyrical movement of the text, I find exemplary.'
    Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review
      'Miller's charming second collection [There Is an Anger that Moves] is an affectionately jaunty glimpse of a life caught between the cold and baffling England he has adopted and the fiery warmth of his Jamaican home.'
    No. 7 in 'The Ten Best New poetry collections' - The Independent, 2007
    Awards won by Kei Miller Short-listed, 2020 The Derek Walcott Prize (In Nearby Bushes) Long-listed, 2020 The Polari Prize (In Nearby Bushes) Winner, 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) Short-listed, 2014 Costa Book Awards for Poetry (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) Short-listed, 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion)
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