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Joseph was born in Trinidad and raised by his grandparents. He began writing as a young child and cites his main influences as calypso, surrealism, jazz, the spiritual Baptist church that his grandparents attended, and the rhythms of Caribbean speech. Joseph has lived in the United Kingdom since 1989.
In September 2004 he was chosen by Renaissance One and the Arts Council England as one of 50 Black and Asian writers who have made major contributions to contemporary British literature, appearing in the "A Great Day in London" photograph and performing at the event at the British Library. In April 2005, he served as the British Council's first poet-in-residence at California State University, Los Angeles.
Joseph holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has taught at London Metropolitan University, University of Surrey Roehampton, South Thames College, and Birkbeck College.
Joseph is the author of the poetry collections Desafinado (1994), Teragaton (1997), Bird Head Son (2009) and Rubber Orchestras (2011). His debut novel, The African Origins of UFOs, was published by Salt Publishing in November 2006. Described as an "afro-psychedelic-noir, a poetic work of metafiction, mythology and afro-futurism", the book was endorsed by Kamau Brathwaite, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Lauri Ramey, who hailed it in her introduction as "a future fiction classic". Reviewing the book, Ali Alizadeh called Joseph "both a faithful heir and an agnostic rebel; a Black poet haunted by Africa's past as well as a bilingual post-modernist amused by the possibilities of the future. Contemporary literature doesn't come a lot more sophisticated and intriguing than this." Joseph received an Arts Council award to conduct a reading tour of the UK in support of the book. In 2007, the tour continued to Europe with a ten-city tour of Germany and readings in the US.
Joseph also performs and records with his band The Spasm Band. His debut album with the band Leggo de Lion was released in April 2007 by Kindred Spirits. His collection of poetry, Bird Head Son, was published by Salt Publishing in February 2009, coinciding with the release of his album Bird Head Son. The album was recorded over two days in Meudon, France, with guests Keziah Jones, Joseph Bowie, and vibraphonist David Neerman. His album Rubber Orchestras was released in August 2011. His poetry collection, also entitled Rubber Orchestras, was published by Salt Publishing in November 2011. Time, his first solo album, was released on 3 February 2013. It was produced by American bassist and singer Meshell Ndegeocello.
Awards and honors
- Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Research Award
- Arts Council of England Touring Award
- Leggo de Lion, 2007
- Bird Head Son, 2009
- Rubber Orchestras, 2011
- Live in Bremen, 2013
- Time, 2014
- Caribbean Roots, 2016
- People of the Sun, 2018
- Desafinado, Poison Engine Press, 1994, ISBN 0-9524152-0-8
- Teragaton, Poison Engine Press, 1997, ISBN 0-9524152-1-6
- The African Origins of UFOs, Salt Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1-84471-272-9
- Bird Head Son, Salt Publishing, 2009, ISBN 1-84471-435-7
- Rubber Orchestras, Salt Publishing, 2011, ISBN 1-84471-819-0
- Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon', Peepal Tree, 2018, ISBN 9781845234195
- Jurek, Thom. "Anthony Joseph". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- Andrea Levy, "Made in Britain. To celebrate the impact of their different perspectives, 50 writers of Caribbean, Asian and African descent gathered to be photographed. Andrea Levy reports on a great day for literature", The Guardian, 18 September 2004.
- Kevin Le Gendre, "Books: A great day for a family get together Who are the movers and shakers in black British writing? And can they all fit on one staircase?", The Independent on Sunday, 17 October 2004.
- "About Anthony Joseph". British Council. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Anthony Joseph: Biography". British Council. Archived from the original on 11 April 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Bio". Anthony Joseph. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
- "Ali Alizadeh Reviews Anthony Joseph | Cordite Poetry Review". Cordite.org.au. 8 March 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
- "Anthony Joseph: Poetry Parnassus". South Bank Center. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Anthony Joseph's Caribbean Roots". Strut Records. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016.