Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. He divides his time between Jamaica and the UK and is currently teaching Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. He has published several collections of poetry and a book of short stories published by Macmillan Caribbean, THE FEAR OF STONES, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's prize for Best First Book.
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE In this astonishing collection of essays, the award-winning poet and novelist Kei Miller explores the silence in which so many important things are kept. He examines the experience of discrimination through this silence and what it means to breach it: to risk words, to risk truths. And he considers the histories our bodies inherit - the crimes that haunt them, and how meaning can shift as we move throughout the world, variously assuming privilege or victimhood. Through letters to James Baldwin, encounters with Liam Neeson, Soca, Carnival, family secrets, love affairs, white women's tears, questions of aesthetics and more, Miller powerfully and imaginatively recounts everyday acts of racism and prejudice. With both the epigrammatic concision and conversational cadence of his poetry and novels, Things I Have Withheld is a great artistic achievement: a work of beauty which challenges us to interrogate what seems unsayable and why - our actions, defence mechanisms, imaginations and interactions - and those of the world around us.
Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2014. Winner of the 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection. We watch as the cartographer, used to the scientific methods of assuming control over a place by mapping it, is gradually compelled to recognize--even to envy--a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman's eternal city of Zion. As the book unfolds the cartographer learns that, on this island of roads that constrict like throats, every place-name comes freighted with history, and not every place that can be named can be found.
We follow Adamine as she grows up in Jamaica, discovering through her church that she has a gift of ‘warning’. This gift is respected in her homeland but when she moves to England she discovers her prophecies are seen more as a sign of madness and she is institutionalised. Now as an old woman she wants to tell her story. A moving and bittersweet tale.
Comparisons will inevitably be made to Alexander McCall Smith as Miller has the same gentle style. A lovely story about a young girl who has moved back to Jamaica after the death of her mother. When her friends underwear is stolen they decide to set up a neighbourhood watch scheme but not everyone in town is so keen to have one. Funny, poignant and charming. Miller is a writer to keep an eye on. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
Shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize 2020. Longlisted for the 2020 Polari Prize. A Telegraph Book of the Year 2019. The highly anticipated new collection from Forward Prize-winner Kei Miller explores his strangest landscape yet - the placeless place. Here is a world in which it is both possible to hide and to heal, a landscape as much marked by magic as it is by murder.
Kei Miller's work was acclaimed by the distinguished Jamaican writer Olive Senior as 'Some of the most exciting poetry I've read in years...An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace'. A Light Song of Light sings in the rhythms of ritual and folktale, praise songs and anecdotes, blending lyricism with a cool wit, finding the languages in which poetry can sing in dark times. The book is in two parts: Day Time and Night Time, each exploring the inseparable elements that together make a whole. Behind the daylight world of community lies another, disordered, landscape: stories of ghosts and bandits, a darkness violent and seductive. At the heart of the collection is the Singerman, a member of Jamaica's road gangs in the 1930s, whose job was to sing while the rest of the gang broke stones. He is a presence both mundane and shamanic. Kei Miller's poems celebrate 'our incredible and abundant lives', facing the darkness and making from it a song of the light.
The six sequences of There Is an Anger that Moves travel from Jamaica to England and back. A mother's heart is broken; men fall in love secretly; people dance until they die. Religion haunts these disbelieving poems which move sometimes to the measure of a hymn, sometimes to the cadence of a Baptist sermon. Each swells with its own conviction, even when that conviction is doubt. Miller makes us believe in the power of unexpected things: the colour orange, broken coffins, ice cream - and in the transforming power of poetry. From this book, Kei Miller emerges as one of the most compelling and subtle new voices from the Caribbean.