| James Berry|| Poet|
| Nestle Smarties Book Prize|
Coretta Scott King Award for Authors
Thief in the Village, Isn't My Name Magical, Ajeemah and His Son, Windrush Songs, Classic Poems to Read Alo
Karen Cushman, Philippa Pearce, Glen Downey
James Berry (poet) Wikipedia
James Berry, OBE (28 September 1924 – 20 June 2017) was a black Jamaican poet who settled in England in the 1940s. His poetry is notable for using a mixture of standard English and Jamaican Patois. Berry's writing often "explores the relationship between black and white communities and in particular, the excitement and tensions in the evolving relationship of the Caribbean immigrants with Britain and British society from the 1940s onwards". As the editor of two seminal anthologies, Bluefoot Traveller (1976) and News for Babylon (1984), he was in the forefront of championing West Indian/British writing.
The son of Robert Berry, a smallholder, and his wife Maud, a seamstress, James Berry was born and grew up in rural Portland, Jamaica. He began writing stories and poems while still at school. During the Second World War, as a teenager, he went to work for six years (1942–48) in the United States, before returning to Jamaica. In his own words:
"America had run into a shortage of farm labourers and was recruiting workers from Jamaica. I was 18 at the time. My friends and I, all anxious for improvement and change, were snapped up for this war work and we felt this to be a tremendous prospect for us. But we soon realised, as we had been warned, that there was a colour problem in the United States that we were not familiar with in the Caribbean. America was not a free place for black people. When I came back from America, pretty soon the same old desperation of being stuck began to affect me. When the Windrush
came along, it was godsend, but I wasn't able to get on the boat.... I had to wait for the second ship to make the journey that year, the SS Orbita
Settling in 1948 in Great Britain, he attended night school, trained and worked as a telegrapher in London, while also writing. He has been reported as saying: "I knew I was right for London and London was right for me. London had books and accessible libraries."
He became an early member of the Caribbean Artists Movement, founded in 1966 by Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Andrew Salkey and John La Rose, and in 1971 was its acting chair. In 1976 Berry compiled the anthology Bluefoot Traveller and in 1979 his first poetry collection, Fractured Circles, was published by New Beacon Books. In 1981 he won the Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition, the first poet of West Indian origin to do so. He edited the landmark anthology News for Babylon (1984), considered "a ground-breaking publication because its publishing house Chatto & Windus was 'mainstream' and distinguished for its international poetry list".
Berry wrote many books for young readers, including A Thief in the Village and Other Stories (1987), The Girls and Yanga Marshall (1987), The Future-Telling Lady and Other Stories (1991), Anancy-Spiderman (1988), Don't Leave an Elephant to Go and Chase a Bird (1996) and First Palm Trees (1997).
His last book of poetry, A Story I Am In: Selected Poems (2011), draws on five earlier collections: Fractured Circles (1979), Lucy’s Letters and Loving (1982, Chain of Days (1985), Hot Earth Cold Earth (1995) and Windrush Songs (2007).
In 1995, his "Song of a Blue Foot Man" was adapted and staged at the Watford Palace Theatre Theatre.
In 1990, Berry was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to poetry. In September 2004 he was one of fifty Black and Asian writers who have made major contributions to contemporary British literature who featured in the historic "A Great Day in London" photograph at the British Library. His archives were acquired by the British Library in October 2012. Among other items, the archive contains drafts of an unpublished novel, The Domain of Sollo and Sport.
He died in London on 20 June 2017 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.Bluefoot Traveller: An Anthology of Westindian Poets in Britain (editor), London: Limestone Publications, 1976; revised edition Bluefoot Traveller: Poetry by West Indians in Britain, London: Harrap, 1981
Fractured Circles (poetry), London: New Beacon Books, 1979
Lucy's Letters and Loving, London: New Beacon Books, (1982)
News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of Westindian-British Poetry (editor), London: Chatto & Windus, 1984
Chain of Days, Oxford University Press, 1985
A Thief in the Village and other stories (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1987
The Girls and Yanga Marshall: four stories (for children), London: Longman, 1987
Anancy-Spiderman: 20 Caribbean Folk Tales (for children), illustrated by Joseph Olubo, London: Walker, 1988
When I Dance (for children), Hamish Hamilton, 1988
Isn't My Name Magical? (for children), Longman/BBC, 1990
The Future-Telling Lady and other stories (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1991
Ajeemah and his Son (for children), USA: HarperCollins, 1992
Celebration Song (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994
Classic Poems to Read Aloud (editor), London: Kingfisher, 1995
Hot Earth Cold Earth, Bloodaxe Books, 1995
Playing a Dazzler (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1996
Don't Leave an Elephant to Go and Chase a Bird (for children), USA: Simon & Schuster, 1996
Everywhere Faces Everywhere (for children), Simon and Schuster, 1997
First Palm Trees (for children), illustrated by Greg Couch, Simon & Schuster, 1997
Around the World in 80 Poems (editor – for children), London: Macmillan, 2001
A Nest full of Stars (for children), London: Macmillan, 2002
Only One of Me (selected poems – for children), London: Macmillan, 2004
James Berry Reading from his poems for children, CD, The Poetry Archive, 2005
Windrush Songs, Bloodaxe Books, 2007
A Story I Am In: Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, 2011
1977–78, C. Day Lewis Fellowship
1981, National Poetry Competition (for "Fantasy of an African Boy")
1987, Smarties Prize (for A Thief in the Village)
1989, Signal Poetry Award (for When I Dance)
1989, Coretta Scott King Book Award
1991, Cholmondeley Award
1993, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (for Ajeemah and His Son)
2007, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature