Place of birth
Place of residence
United States of America
National identity

Brian Meeks

Short biography
Brian Meeks was born in Montreal, Canada of West Indian parents and grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. He is Professor of Africana Studies and Chair of the Africana Studies/Rites and Reason Theatre Department at Brown University. He has authored or edited eleven books on Caribbean politics, political culture and thought, including Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory (1993 and 2000), Culture, Politics, Race and Diaspora: the Thought of Stuart Hall (2007), and Critical Interventions in Caribbean Politics and Theory (2014).

His novel Paint the Town Red was published by Peepal Tree in 2003 and is an extension of Meeks's concern with the theme of rebellion and the existential condition of Caribbean people. It seeks, through a series of fictional vignettes and flashbacks to tell the proverbial coming of age story, while capturing the flavour of the seventies - a profoundly important decade, which saw Jamaica approach the frontiers of civil war. Before coming to Brown in 2015, he served for many years at the University of the West Indies in the Department of Government and as Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies and Director of the Centre for Caribbean Thought at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.


"Meeks’s poetry was very much a part of the early Jamaican dub poetry movement of the seventies and is to be found in a number of anthologies, including Kamau Brathwaite’s seminal Savacou ¾, The Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse (1986), The Anthology of Young Jamaican Poets (Savacou, 1979) and Wheel and Come Again (Peepal Tree, 1999).


'Writing Paint the Town Red was a cathartic experience,' Meeks suggests. 'There are so many painful, unanswered questions about Jamaica in the seventies, some of which may never be resolved by the historian or social scientist. The normal figure for the number of people killed during the political campaign leading up to the 1980 election is eight hundred, though I suspect that the real figure is significantly greater. Have these men, women and children who died simply been erased from the world, or are there many poignant stories to be told? By locating itself in history while avoiding the limitations imposed by traditional scholarship, Paint the Town Red seeks to address, if not answer, some of the persistent questions of that lost decade.'"