2016 Authors' Awards speech

Listen to the recording of John Agard's speech.

John Agard is a leading poet who has written widely for both adults and children. He was born in Guyana and moved to England in 1977, becoming a touring lecturer for the Commonwealth Institute. He was appointed Writer in Residence at the South Bank Centre and thereafter Poet in Residence at BBC and at the National Maritime Museum. 

His published poetry includes Man to Pan (1982), Limbo Dancer in Dark Glasses (1983), Weblines (2000) and his new collection Playing the Ghost of Maimonides (Bloodaxe Books, 2016) is out now. 

As a children’s writer Agard has received wide critical acclaim, writing many works including The Young Inferno (Frances Lincoln, 2009), Book (Walker, 2014) which tells the history of the stolen voice of the book and was longlisted for 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal, and Tiger Dead! Tiger Dead! Stories from the Caribbean (HarperCollins, 2009), a collaboration with his wife, poet Grace Nichols.

John has also written a number of verse dramas for venues as diverse as the Little Angel Theatre and Glyndebourne. In 2012 John Agard was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.