He worked for a time as a forest ranger and as an agricultural assistant in the Department of Forestry. He studied in the USA at Howard University and on Johns Hopkins writing programme. Whilst being mainly based in Trinidad, he taught at a number of American universities in the 1970s. His first novel, While Gods Are Falling was published in 1965, followed by The Schoolmaster, The Dragon Can’t Dance, The Wine of Astonishment, and Salt, which won the Commonweath Writers Prize in 1997. He is one of the few major Caribbean writers who, except for brief periods, has never left the region. He currently lives in the remote village of Matura. He teaches at UWI, Trinidad.