- Born 21st June 1949, Guyana
- Afro-Guyanese poet, playwright, author and children’s writer
- Wrote first poetry when he was in sixth-form
- Left school in 1967 to pursue career as a librarian, sub-editor and feature writer in the newspaper Guyana Sunday Chronicle.
- He wrote two books which were published while still in Guyana.
- Left Guyana in 1977 and travelled to England, still lives there today with his long-term partner Grace Nichols (also renowned poet).
- Worked for the Commonwealth Institute and the BBC in London.
- Became poet-in-residence at the National Maritime Museum in 2008
- His poem Half-Caste featured in the AQA English GCSE Anthology since 2002 and has been studied by pupils aged 14-16 across the country for their GCSE qualification.
- 1982: Casa de las Américas Prize (Cuba) for Man to Pan
- 1987: Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (shortlist) for Lend Me Your Wings
- 1995: Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Bronze Award) (6–8 years category) for We Animals Would Like a Word With You
- 1997: Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry
- 2003: Cholmondeley Award
- 2007: British Book Awards Decibel Writer of the Year (shortlist) for We Brits
- 2009: Centre for Literacy in Primary Education poetry award for The Young Inferno.
- 2012: Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry