Mervyn Eustace Morris was born in 1937 in Kingston, Jamaica. Morris studied at the University College of the West Indies (UWI) and as a Rhodes Scholar at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In 1970, he began lecturing at UWI, where he went on to be appointed a Reader in West Indian Literature. In 1992 he was a UK Arts Council Visiting Writer-in-Residence at the South Bank Centre. He lives in Kingston, Jamaica, where he is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & West Indian Literature. The photo above was taken during the 2016 Kingston Book Festival.
On April 15, 2014, the Minister of Tourism and Entertainment formally announced Jamaica’s first Poet Laureate in 50 years, Prof. Mervyn Morris, at the National Library of Jamaica . This is a national honour that recognises a distinguished Jamaican poet for his/her significant contribution to the literary community. The Poet Laureate is expected to stimulate a greater appreciation for Jamaican poetry, write poems for national occasions and preserve and disseminate the island’s cultural heritage through prose. The Poet Laureate is a joint initiative of the Entertainment Advisory Board and ministries of Tourism and Culture and the National Library.
“In addition to his poetry, which has ranked him among the top West Indian poets, he was one of the first academics to espouse the importance of nation language in helping to define in verse important aspects of Jamaican culture.” —Ralph Thompson (poet) Photo Credit: Troy Johnson during 2016 Kingston Book Festival