University of Nebraska’s Kwame Dawes Appointed Poet Laureate of Jamaica

photo credit: Chris Abani

Kwame Dawes, George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, has been named Poet Laureate of Jamaica. He will hold the position through 2027.

In 2011, Dr. Dawes joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska as the Chancellor’s Professor of English. In addition to his current faculty appointment, he serves the university as the Gleanna Luchesi Editor of Prairie Schooner, a quarterly literary magazine. Prior to his career at the University of Nebraska, he served the University of South Carolina as the Distinguished Poet in Residence, Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts, founding executive director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative, and director of the Arts Institute. He also previously served as chancellor of the American Academy of Poets.

In addition to his career in higher education, Dr. Dawes has published extensively, penning dozens of poetry books, novels, and works of nonfiction. His forthcoming book of poetry, Sturge Town: Poems (W.W. Norton & Company, 2024) will be released in August. His leadership and accomplishments in the literary field led him to co-founding the annual Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica and founding the African Poetry Book Fund.

Born in Ghana, Dr. Dawes spent most of his childhood and early adult life in Jamaica. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of the West Indies at Mona. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

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