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David Dabydeen, Critic, Writer and Novelist

David Dabydeen

David Dabydeen - Critic, writer and novelist David Dabydeen was born in 1955 in Berbice, Guyana, moving to England with his parents in 1969. He read English at Cambridge University, gained a doctorate at University College London in 1982, and was awarded a research fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford. David Dabydeen is Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies and Professor at the Centre for British Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick. He is also Guyana's Ambassador-at-Large and a member of UNESCO's Executive Board. In 2001 he wrote and presented The Forgotten Colony, a BBC Radio 4 programme exploring the history of Guyana. He is the author of four novels, three collections of poetry and several works of non-fiction and criticism. His first book, Slave Song (1984), a collection of poetry, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Quiller-Couch Prize. A new collection, Turner, was published in 2002.

His first novel, The Intended (1991), the story of a young Asian student abandoned in London by his father, won the Guyana Prize for Literature. Disappearance (1993) centres on a young Guyanese engineer working on the south coast of England who lodges with an elderly woman. The Counting House (1996) is set at the end of the nineteenth century and narrates the experiences of an Indian couple whose hopes of a new life in colonial Guyana end in tragedy. The story explores historical tensions between indentured Indian workers and Guyanese of African descent. A Harlot's Progress (1999), is based on a series of pictures painted by William Hogarth in 1732 and develops the story of Hogarth's black slave boy. Through the character of Mungo, Dabydeen challenges traditional cultural representations of the slave.

David Dabydeen's latest book is Molly and the Muslim Stick (2008) and he has recently edited books for the Coventry-based Heaventree Press. In 2007, he was awarded the Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award for his outstanding contribution to literature and the intellectual life of the Indian diaspora.

Genres (in alphabetical order)

Criticism, Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry

Slave Song Dangaroo, 1984
Caribbean Literature: A Teacher's Handbook Heinemann Educational, 1985
The Black Presence in English Literature (editor) Manchester University Press, 1985
A Reader's Guide to West Indian and Black British Literature (with Nana Wilson-Tagoe) Hansib/University of Warwick Centre for Caribbean Studies, 1987
Hogarth's Blacks: Images of Blacks in 18th-Century English Art Manchester University Press, 1987
India in the Caribbean (editor with Brinsley Samaroo) Hansib, 1987
Coolie Odyssey Hansib, 1988
Handbook for Teaching Caribbean Literature Heinemann Educational, 1988
Black Writers in Britain 1760-1890 (editor with Paul Edwards) Edinburgh University Press, 1991
The Intended Secker & Warburg, 1991
Disappearance Secker & Warburg, 1993
Turner: New and Selected Poems Cape, 1994
Across the Dark Waters: Ethnicity and Indian Identity in the Caribbean Macmillan, 1996
The Counting House Cape, 1996
A Harlot's Progress Cape, 1999
No Island is an Island: Selected Speeches of Sir Shridath Ramphal (editor with John Gilmore) Macmillan, 2000
Turner Peepal Tree Press, 2002
Our Lady of Demerera Dido Press, 2004
Slave Song Peepal Tree Press, 2005
Broadcast 2: Picture Thinking and Other Stories (editor with Jane Commane) Heaventree Press, 2007
Selected Poems of Egbert Martin (editor) Heaventree Press, 2007
The Oxford Companion to Black British History (editor with John Gilmore) Oxford University Press, 2007
Molly and the Muslim Stick Macmillan Caribbean, 2008
The First Crossing: Being the Diary of Theophilus Richmond, Ship's Surgeon Aboard The Hesperus, 1837-8 (co-editor) Heaventree Press, 2008

Prizes and awards
1984 Commonwealth Poetry Prize Slave Song
1984 Quiller-Couch Prize Slave Song
1991 Guyana Prize for Literature The Intended
1999 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) (shortlist) A Harlot's Progress
2004 Raja Rao Award for Literature (India)
2007 Hind Rattan Award

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