Fred D'Aguiar (Frederick D'Aguiar) Biography
(1960– ), (Frederick D'Aguiar), Mama Dot, Airy Hall, British Subjects
British poet and novelist, born in London of Guyanese parents. He spent his early years in Guyana, and returned to London in 1972 where he trained as a psychiatric nurse; he also read English and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent. D'Aguiar's poems are notable for their humane yet unsentimental humour, and mastery of the Creole dialect. Mama Dot (1985) and Airy Hall (1989) contain poems ranging widely in subject, including those which vividly recall his childhood, and family relations. Based on his own grandmother, ‘Mama Dot’ is an archetypal figure of ageless, matriarchal wisdom. A more recent collection is British Subjects (1993). His play A Jamaican Airman Foresees His Death was staged at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1991; inspired by Yeats, it celebrates the West Indian contribution to the British Second World War effort. The Longest Memory (1994), his first novel, uses a series of dramatic monologues to create a compound picture of the culture of slavery on a Virginia plantation circa 1800. Dear Future (1996) confirmed D'Aguiar as a novelist of strength and originality.