Kei Miller

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Kei Miller

Miller reads from his work nominated for the Jhalak Prize 2022
Miller reads from his work nominated for the Jhalak Prize 2022
Born (1978-10-24) 24 October 1978 (age 44)
Kingston, Surrey County, Jamaica
EducationUniversity of the West Indies;
Manchester Metropolitan University;
University of Glasgow
Notable worksThe Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (2014)
Augustown (2016)
Notable awardsOCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

Kei Miller FRSL (born 24 October 1978) is a Jamaican poet, fiction writer, essayist and blogger. He is also a professor of creative writing.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Kei Miller was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He read English at the University of the West Indies, but dropped out short of graduation.[2] However, while studying there, he befriended Mervyn Morris, who encouraged his writing.[3] Afterwards, Miller began publishing widely throughout the Caribbean.

In 2004, he left for England to study for an MA in Creative Writing (The Novel) at Manchester Metropolitan University under the tutelage of poet and scholar Michael Schmidt.[4] Miller later completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Glasgow.


In 2006, Miller's first book of poetry was released, Kingdom of Empty Bellies[5] (Heaventree Press). It was shortly followed by a collection of short stories, The Fear of Stones,[6] which partly explores issues of Jamaican homophobia. The collection was shortlisted in 2007 for a Commonwealth Writers' Prize in the category of Best First Book (Canada or Caribbean).[7] His second collection of poetry, There Is an Anger That Moves,[8] was published in 2007 by Carcanet Press.[9] He is also the editor of Carcanet's 2007 New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology.[10] His first novel, The Same Earth,[11] was published in 2008, followed in 2010 by The Last Warner Woman.[12] That same year saw the publication of his poetry collection A Light Song of Light. In 2013 his Writing Down the Vision: Essays & Prophecies was published,[13] and in 2014 a collection of poems for which he was awarded the Forward Prize, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion.[14][15] Hilary Mantel chose The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion as one of her favourite books of 2014.[16] This compilation includes a poem on unusual Jamaican place-names, such as Me-no-Sen-You-no-Come.[17] He published a collection of essays titled Things I Have Withheld in 2021, which was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction.

In 2014, Miller was named as one of the 20 "Next Generation Poets", a list compiled every ten years by the Poetry Book Society.[18]

He was an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa, and has also been a visiting writer at York University in Canada, at the Department of Library Services in the British Virgin Islands and a Vera Rubin Fellow at Yaddo.[19][20] He currently divides his time between Jamaica and the United Kingdom. Until 2014, he was Reader at the University of Glasgow. He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Exeter.

Miller's third novel, Augustown, won the 2017 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.[21]

Miller was awarded the 2018 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Award for Excellence in Arts & Letters.[22]

In June 2018, Miller was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in its "40 Under 40" initiative.[23]

Miller was a judge for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.[24]

Awards and honours[edit]

Selected works[edit]

  • Fear of Stones and Other Stories (short stories), Macmillan Caribbean, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4050-6637-2.
  • Kingdom of Empty Bellies (poems), Heaventree Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-9548811-2-2.
  • There Is an Anger That Moves, Carcanet Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-85754-945-4.
  • The Same Earth (novel), Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008, ISBN 978-0-297-84480-8; Phoenix, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7538-2311-8.
  • The Last Warner Woman (novel), Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010, ISBN 978-0-297-86077-8; Phoenix, 2011, ISBN 978-0-7538-2808-3.
  • A Light Song of Light (poems),[29] Carcanet Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84777-103-2.
  • Writing Down the Vision: Essays & Prophecies, Peepal Tree Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84523-228-3.
  • The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (poems), Carcanet, 2014, ISBN 978-1-84777-267-1.
  • Augustown (novel), Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016, ISBN 978-1-4746-0359-1
  • Things I Have Withheld (essays), Canongate Books Ltd, 2021, ISBN 978-1-83885-279-5

As editor


  1. ^ "Profile: Dr Kei Miller", Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London.
  2. ^ a b Daviot Kelly, "A Servant Of His Pen: Dr Kei Miller - From UWI Dropout To Rex Nettleford Fellowship Awardee", The Gleaner, 17 July 2013.
  3. ^ Mervyn Morris biography, Norwich Fringe Festival.
  4. ^ Claire Armitstead, "Kei Miller: 'My productivity is linked to what could be called a disability'", The Guardian, 28 September 2014.
  5. ^ Zoe Brigley, "Kingdom of Empty Bellies by Kei Miller" (review), Ready Steady Book, 13 April 2007.
  6. ^ "Fear Of Stones And Other Stories" at Goodreads.
  7. ^ Shortlist 2007. Archived 30 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Sonia Hendy-Isaac, "Review: Kei Miller – There is an Anger That Moves", Iota 83 & 84, Spring 2009.
  9. ^ Carcanet Press – Kei Miller
  10. ^ New Caribbean Poetry page at Carcanet.
  11. ^ Kevin Le Gendre, "The Same Earth, By Kei Miller – The strange case of the missing polka-dot panties" (review), The Independent on Sunday, 18 May 2008.
  12. ^ Adele S. Newson-Horst, "The Last Warner Woman by Kei Miller" (review), World Literature Today, May 2012.
  13. ^ "Writing Down the Vision: Essays & Prophecies" at Goodreads.
  14. ^ Caroline Davies, "Kei Miller wins Forward poetry prize", The Guardian, 30 September 2014.
  15. ^ Jacob Stolworthy, "Jamaican poet Kei Miller wins £10,000 Forward Prize", The Telegraph, 30 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Books of the Year: NS friends and contributors choose their favourite reading of 2014", New Statesman, 19 November 2014.
  17. ^ Valerie Duff, "Mapping Kei Miller’s Zion", The Critical Flame, Issue 34, January–February 2015.
  18. ^ "Next Generation Poets 2014" Archived 5 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Poetry Book Society.
  19. ^ "Writers: Kei Miller", British Council – Literature.
  20. ^ Kei Miller, University of Glasgow School of Critical Studies
  21. ^ a b "Jamaican Kei Miller wins OCM Bocas Prize", Bocas Lit Fest, 2 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Caribbean Awards celebrates 10th ceremony in Jamaica". CaribVision. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  23. ^ Flood, Alison (28 June 2018). "Royal Society of Literature admits 40 new fellows to address historical biases". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  24. ^ "Griffin Poetry Prize - 2020 Judges". Griffin Poetry Prize.
  25. ^ "Kei Miller, Young yet accomplished writer receives 2009 Silver Musgrave" Archived 1 December 2014 at, The Institute of Jamaica.
  26. ^ "Top three for OCM Bocas Prize named". T&T Guardian. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  27. ^ Sean Douglas (13 December 2017). "Just Because Foundation is ANSA laureate". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  28. ^ "Jhalak Prize 2022 shortlists announced". Books+Publishing. 20 April 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  29. ^ "A Light Song of Light" page at Carcanet.

External links[edit]