Born in Guyana and living in Britain, John Agard is a playwright, a poet and children’s writer.
His love for language started because of his listening to cricket commentary back in Georgetown. His passion for language saw him study English, French and Latin. It also saw him publish his first poetry book in sixth-form.
Agard also taught languages and worked at a local library before moving on to the Guyana Sunday Chronicle, where he worked as a feature writer and a sub-editor.
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In 1977, he moved to Britain with his partner poet, Grace Nichols.
He has won a number of works including Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry, the Cholmondeley Award and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, an award only Agard and Derek Walcott have won as black poets.
His literary works explore a number of issues including race, especially the reality of being mixed-race. He has been known to offer an entertaining yet illuminating take on social issues as seen in the poem, Half-Caste, in which he questions the society’s perception of mixed-race people as incomplete.
Here is Agard reciting Half-Caste.