Miller was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He read English at the University of the West Indies, but dropped out short of graduation. However, while studying there, he befriended Mervyn Morris, who encouraged his writing. Afterward, 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. Miller later completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. "Kei has been a visiting writer at York University in Canada, a Vera Rubin Fellow at Yaddo, and an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa." He currently teaches at the Royal Holloway, University of London.
In 2006, his first book of poetry was released, Kingdom of Empty Bellies (Heaventree Press). It was shortly followed by a collection of short stories, The Fear of Stones, 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). His second collection of poetry, There Is an Anger That Moves, was published in 2007 by Carcanet Press. He is also the editor of Carcanet's 2007 New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology. His first novel, The Same Earth, was published in 2008, followed in 2010 by The Last Warner Woman. 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, and in 2014 a collection of poems for which he was awarded the Forward Prize, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. Hilary Mantel chose The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion as one of her favourite books of 2014.
He has 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. He currently divides his time between Jamaica and the United Kingdom. Until 2014, he was Reader at the University of Glasgow. Miller currently teaches Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Awards and honors
- 2014: Winner of the Forward Prize for Poetry, The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion
- 2014: Named as one of the Next Generation Poets 2014
- 2014: Shortlisted for the international Dylan Thomas Prize for Literature, The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion
- 2014: OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (Non-fiction), Writing Down the Vision
- 2013: Rex Nettleford Fellow in Cultural Studies
- 2013: Shortlisted for the Phillis Wheatley Book Award in Fiction, The Last Warner Woman
- 2010: Shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, A Light Song of Light
- 2009: Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica
- 2007: International Writer's Fellowship at the University of Iowa
- Fear of Stones and Other Stories (short stories), Macmillan Caribbean, 2006, ISBN 978-1405066372.
- Kingdom of Empty Bellies (poems), Heaventree Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0954881122.
- There Is an Anger That Moves, Carcanet Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1857549454.
- The Same Earth (novel), Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008, ISBN 978-0297844808; Phoenix, 2009, ISBN 978-0753823118.
- The Last Warner Woman (novel), Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010, ISBN 978-0297860778; Phoenix, 2011, ISBN 978-0753828083.
- A Light Song of Light (poems), Carcanet Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84777-103-2.
- Writing Down the Vision: Essays & Prophecies, Peepal Tree Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1845232283.
- The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (poems), Carcanet, 2014, ISBN 978-1847772671.
- Daviot Kelly, "A Servant Of His Pen: Dr Kei Miller - From UWI Dropout To Rex Nettleford Fellowship Awardee", The Gleaner, 17 July 2013.
- Mervyn Morris biography, Norwich Fringe Festival.
- Claire Armitstead, "Kei Miller: ‘My productivity is linked to what could be called a disability’", The Guardian, 28 September 2014.
- Kei Miller, University of Glasgow School of Critical Studies
- Dr Kei Miller, Staff Directory, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Zoe Brigley, "Kingdom of Empty Bellies by Kei Miller" (review), Ready Steady Book, 13 April 2007.
- "Fear Of Stones And Other Stories" at Goodreads.
- Shortlist 2007.
- Sonia Hendy-Isaac, "Review: Kei Miller – There is an Anger That Moves", Iota 83 & 84, Spring 2009.
- Carcanet Press - Kei Miller
- New Caribbean Poetry page at Carcanet.
- 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.
- Adele S. Newson-Horst, "The Last Warner Woman by Kei Miller" (review), World Literature Today, May 2012.
- "Writing Down the Vision: Essays & Prophecies" at Goodreads.
- Caroline Davies, "Kei Miller wins Forward poetry prize", The Guardian, 30 September 2014.
- Jacob Stolworthy, "Jamaican poet Kei Miller wins £10,000 Forward Prize", 30 September 2014.
- "Books of the Year: NS friends and contributors choose their favourite reading of 2014", New Statesman, 19 November 2014.
- "Next Generation Poets 2014", Poetry Book Society.
- "Writers: Kei Miller", British Council – Literature.
- "Profile: Dr Kei Miller", Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London.
- "Top three for OCM Bocas Prize named". T&T Guardian. March 31, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- "Kei Miller, Young yet accomplished writer receives 2009 Silver Musgrave", The Institute of Jamaica.
- "A Light Song of Light" page at Carcanet.
- Kei Miller Author Profile at Carcanet Press
- Kei Miller at The Poetry Archive.
- Kei Miller, "When love turns to hate: The darkness that lurks beyond the tourist compounds of the Caribbean", The Glasgow Herald, 2 August 2008.
- Nicholas Laughlin, "The distraction of Walcott vs Naipaul", The Guardian, 5 June 2008. An article mentioning Miller as strong performer of his work.
- "Interview with Kei Miller", Iota, No. 83 & 84, Spring 2009, pp. 67–70.
- Annie Paull, "Kei Miller Maps His Way to Zion…" (interview), 16 October 2014.