James Berry Memorial Conference at the British Library
Celebrate the life and work of the Jamaican poet and writer James Berry
his conference explores the life and work of the Jamaican poet and writer James Berry (1924 – 2017), considering his writing for adults and children, his cultural activism, and his writing through dementia.
James Berry grew up in rural Jamaica before coming to Britain in 1948. Initially working as a telecommunications officer, Berry took early retirement in 1977 to concentrate on his literary career. He became one of the best loved and most widely taught poets in Britain, writing lyrical, humourous and politically engaged works in both standard English and Jamaican creole. His poetry is full of vivid and beautiful images, especially in its description of the natural loveliness of the land he was born in. A champion of Caribbean culture, much of his work demonstrates his ability to write in voice, developing new forms of speech to suit the ’new cross-cultural aesthetic’ of West Indian British poetry.
Speakers include John Agard, Raymond Antrobus, Malorie Blackman, Errol Lloyd, Hannah Lowe and Grace Nichols.