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Kwame Dawes

Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana in 1962 and moved with his family to Jamaica at the age of ten. His first book of poetry Progeny of Air (Peepal Tree, 1994) won the Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection in the UK. The author of fifteen subsequent collections, Dawes has also published two novels, four anthologies, numerous essays, and seen over fifteen of his plays produced. Dawes actively maintains his Jamaican roots. In 2009 he was awarded an Emmy for his Pulitzer Center funded interactive website, entitled “Hope: Living and Loving with AIDS in Jamaica”. At the University of South Carolina he was the Distinguished Poet in Residence, Founder and executive Director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative, and director of the University of South Carolina Arts Institute. Since 2011 he has taught at the University of Nebraska as a Chancellor’s Professor of English as well as the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner. He is a Cave Canem faculty member and teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Eliza Griffiths


Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection 

Hollis Summers Poetry Prize 

Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist

Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction 

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