Culture

Famous Writers from Jamaica

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Updated June 8, 2017 17.2k views 47 items

List of famous writers from Jamaica, listed alphabetically with photos when available. Jamaica is home to many prolific writers, including those who write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biographies and more. These are some of the best Jamaican writers that have ever lived, so if you're a native of Jamaica and an aspiring writer then use this list as inspiration to achieve your own writing goals.

Examples of writers on this list include Peter Abrahams and John Figueroa.

This list answers the questions, "Who are popular Jamaican writers?" and "Which writers are from Jamaica?"

You can click on the names of these renowned writers of Jamaica in order to get more information about each one. Some of these historic writers may no longer be living in Jamaica, but they're all of Jamaica descent.
1
Nalo Hopkinson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 59

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: The Salt Roads, Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root, Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, Skin Folk, + more

Nalo Hopkinson (born 20 December 1960) is a Jamaican-born Canadian speculative fiction writer and editor. She currently lives and teaches in Riverside, California. Her novels (Brown Girl in the ...more
2
Mutabaruka is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 67

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Allan Hope, better known as Mutabaruka, is a Jamaican Rastafari dub poet, musician, actor, educator, and talk-show host, who developed two of Jamaica's most popular radio programs, The Cutting ...more

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3
Clement Virgo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 53

Birthplace: Montego Bay, Jamaica

Nationality: Canada, Jamaica

Works: The Planet of Junior Brown, Lie with Me, Love Come Down, Rude

Clement Virgo (born June 1, 1966) is a Canadian film and television writer, producer and director who runs the production company, Conquering Lion Pictures, with producer Damon D'Oliveira. Virgo ...more
4
John Holt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 72

Birthplace: Caribbean Sea, Greater Antilles, Jamaica, Surrey, Kingston, + more

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: River Journal , What Do I Do Monday? , Escape from Childhood , The Kammersee Affair , No holiday camps , + more

John Kenneth Holt CD (11 July 1947 – 19 October 2014), better known as John Holt, was a reggae singer and songwriter from Jamaica who first found fame as a member of The Paragons, before ...more
5
Hugh B. Cave is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 94 (1910-2004)

Birthplace: Chester, England

Nationality: United Kingdom, Jamaica, England

Works: Bottled in Blonde, Long Were The Nights, Death Stalks the Night, The Door Below, Murgunstrumm and Others, + more

Hugh Barnett Cave (11 July 1910 – 27 June 2004) was an American writer of various genres, perhaps best remembered for his works of horror, weird menace and science fiction. Cave was one of the ...more
6
Evan Jones is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 92

Birthplace: Portland Parish, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Funeral in Berlin, Wake in Fright, Modesty Blaise, Night Watch, The Damned, + more

Evan Jones (29 December 1927–21 July 2012) was a poet, playwright and screenwriter based in Britain. He was educated in Jamaica, the United States and England. Jones taught at schools in the ...more
7
Louis Simpson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 89 (1923-2012)

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: United States of America, Jamaica

Works: Ships Going into the Blue, Three on the Tower, People live here, Searching for the ox, Collected Poems, + more

Louis Aston Marantz Simpson (March 27, 1923 – September 14, 2012) was an American poet born in Jamaica. He won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his work At the End of the Open Road.
8
Trevor D. Rhone is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 69 (1940-2009)

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: The Harder They Come, One Love, Milk And Honey, Old story time ; and, Smile orange, + more

Trevor Dave Rhone (24 March 1940 – 15 September 2009) was a Jamaican writer, playwright and film maker. He co-wrote, with director Perry Henzell, the internationally successful film The Harder ...more
9
Peter Abrahams is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 100

Birthplace: South Africa

Nationality: Jamaica, South Africa

Works: Mine boy, Jamaica, The path of thunder, Return to Goli, Wild conquest, + more

Peter Henry Abrahams Deras (3 March 1919 – 18 January 2017), commonly known as Peter Abrahams, was a South African-born novelist, journalist and political commentator who in 1956 settled in ...more
10
André Gordon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 40

Birthplace: Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Wedding Day

André Gordon is an actor, voice actor, screenwriter, film producer and director.
11
M. G. Smith is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 72 (1921-1993)

Birthplace: Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Government in Kano, 1350-1950, Laplace transform theory, The economy of Hausa communities of Zaria, A framework for Caribbean studies, + more

Michael Garfield Smith OM (18 August 1921 - 5 January 1993) was a Jamaican social anthropologist and poet of international repute.
12
Charles Officer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica

Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Nationality: Canada, Jamaica

Works: Nurse.Fighter.Boy, Mighty Jerome

Charles Officer is a Jamaican-Canadian writer, actor, director and former professional hockey player.
13
Andrew Salkey is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 67 (1928-1995)

Birthplace: Colón, Panama

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: The one: the story of how the people of Guyana avenge the murder of their Pasero with help from Brother Anancy and Sister Buxton, Quality of Violence/Escape to an Autumn Pavement, Come home, Malcom Heartland, Georgetown journal, + more

Andrew Salkey (30 January 1928 – 28 April 1995) was a novelist, poet, children's books writer and journalist of Jamaican and Panamanian origin. He was born in Panama but raised in Jamaica, ...more
14
Marcus Garvey is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 53 (1887-1940)

Birthplace: Caribbean Sea, Greater Antilles, Jamaica, Middlesex County, Jamaica, + more

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Speech delivered at Royal Albert Hall, London, England, The tragedy of white injustice, More philosophy and opinions of Marcus Garvey, + more

Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of ...more
15
Paul Wheeler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Paul Wheeler Age: 85

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: The Medallion, Swashbuckler, A Breed Apart, Caravan to Vaccarès

Paul Wheeler is a film writer.
16
Pamela Mordecai is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 77

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Canada, Jamaica

Works: Culture and Customs of Jamaica, Pink Icing and Other Stories, Certifiable, Journey poem, The True Blue of Islands, + more

Pamela Claire Mordecai (born 1942) is a Jamaican-born poet, novelist, short story writer, scholar and anthologist who lives in Canada.
17
Rachel Manley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 68

Birthplace: Cornwall, United Kingdom

Nationality: Canada, United Kingdom, Jamaica

Works: Slipstream, Drumblair, In My Father's Shade, A light left on

Rachel Manley is a Jamaican writer in verse and prose, born in Cornwall, England, raised in Jamaica and currently residing in Canada. She is a daughter of former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael ...more
18
Makeda Silvera is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 64

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Canada, Jamaica

Works: The Heart Does Not Bend, Her head a village, Piece of My Heart, Sapodilla Sister Vision Book of Lesbian, Remembering G and Other Stories, + more

Makeda Silvera (born 1955 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a Caribbean Canadian novelist and short story writer. Silvera emigrated to Canada at the age of 12 with her family, and currently lives in ...more
19
Olive Senior is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 78

Birthplace: Trelawny Parish, Jamaica

Nationality: Canada, Jamaica

Works: Quartet of Stories, Over the Roofs of the World, Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories, Summer lightning and other stories, Gardening in the tropics, + more

Olive Marjorie Senior (born 23 December 1941) is a Jamaican poet, novelist, short story and non-fiction writer based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She was awarded the Musgrave Gold Medal in 2005 ...more
20
Lorna Goodison is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 72

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Quartet of Poems, Quartet of Stories, Selected poems, To us, all flowers are roses, + more

Lorna Goodison CD (born 1 August 1947) is a Jamaican poet, a leading West Indian writer of the generation born after World War II, currently dividing her time between Jamaica and Ann Arbor, ...more
21
Michael Manley is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 73 (1924-1997)

Birthplace: Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Jamaica, The policy of the People's National Party, A voice at the workplace, The Case of the Missing Ghost, A History of West Indian Cricket, + more

Michael Norman Manley ON OCC (10 December 1924 – 6 March 1997) was a Jamaican politician who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992. Coming from a ...more
22
Alrick Brown is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Kinyarwanda

Alrick Brown is a film director, film producer, actor, film editor, teacher and screenwriter.
23
Mervyn Morris is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Age: 82

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Is English We Speaking, The Pond, Examination Centre, I Been There, Sort Of, + more

Mervyn Eustace Morris OM (Jamaica) (born 21 February 1937) is a poet and professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. According to educator Ralph Thompson, "In ...more
24
John Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 79 (1920-1999)

Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Nationality: Jamaica

Works: Staffing and examinations in British Caribbean secondary schools, Love leaps here, Caribbean voices, Ignoring hurts, Society, + more

John Joseph Maria Figueroa (4 August 1920 – 5 March 1999) was a Jamaican poet and educator. He played a significant role in the development of Anglophone Caribbean literature both as a poet and ...more
25
Claude McKay is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Writers from Jamaica
Dec. at 59 (1889-1948)

Birthplace: Clarendon Parish, Jamaica

Nationality: United States of America, Jamaica

Works: Banjo, a story without a plot, Complete poems, Banana Bottom, passion of Claude McKay, + more

Festus Claudius "Claude" McKay (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican writer and poet, who was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He wrote four novels: Home to ...more