Fred D’Aguiar is a British-Guyanese poet, novelist and playwright. D’Aguiar was born in London in 1960 to Guyanese parents, and grew up between Guyana and England. He trained as a psychiatric nurse before reading African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury. D’Aguiar published his first collection of poetry, Mama Dot (1985), to much acclaim and in 1989 won the Guyana Poetry Prize with his subsequent collection Airy Hall (1989). D’Aguiar’s principal subjects include Guyana, the legacy of slavery, the power of poetry and music, and, more recently, healing and wellness through artistic practice. Mama Dot (1985) distils village life around the symbolic figure of Mama Dot, based on D'Aguiar's grandmother; Bill of Rights (1998) is a long narrative poem about the Jonestown massacre of 1979; Bloodlines (2000) tells the story of an enslaved black woman and her white lover. An accomplished poet, D’Aguiar has also written several novels and plays, the first of which The Longest Memory (1994), won the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread First Novel Award. In 2009, his poetry collection Continental Shelf (2009) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, and in 2019 D'Aguiar was awarded the Cholmondeley Award for outstanding contributions to poetry. His latest book is the memoir Year of Plagues: a memoir of 2020 (2021); it was a New Statesman Book of the Year. D’Aguiar is Professor of English at the University of California (UCLA) and lives in Los Angeles .