Place of birth
United Kingdom
Place of residence
United Kingdom

Jeremy Poynting

Short biography
Jeremy Poynting is Peepal Tree’s founder and managing editor. He first developed an interest in Caribbean writing as a student fifty years ago. He holds a PhD from the University of Leeds, an
honorary DLitt from the University of the West Indies (Mona). In 2018 he was elected as an Honorary RSL Fellow by the Royal Society of Literature.

Jeremy Poynting was born in 1946, did a first degree in English at Leeds University, was active in the Communist Party (he left in 1968), joined the Socialist Workers Party briefly, then joined the ranks of the unattached Left, and now Momentum.He taught in Further Education in Leeds for many years, was an active trades unionist, and, in addition to trying to be an attentive father, began a part-time Ph D focusing on the relationship between imaginative literature and ethnic diversity in Trinidad and Guyana, looking primarily at the Indian presence. In 1976 he spent six months in the Caribbean, the first of several, but too infrequent visits. In 1985, after many years, he completed the thesis. 

He has published widely in journals such as Kyk, The New Voices, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Journal of South Asian Literature, Toronto South Asian Review et al. mainly on Indo-Caribbean writing, and giving papers at conferences (Trinidad, 1984, Warwick, 1986; Wellesley, 1988; Oxford, 1988; Guyana, 1988; Virginia, 1992). His essay, on Wilson Harris, ‘Half-Dialectical, Half-Metaphysical’ was published in The Literate Imagination (ed. Gilkes), 1989; and ‘From Ancestral to Creole: Humans and Animals in a West Indian Scale of Values’ in Monsters Tricksters and Sacred Cows (ed Arnold), 1996. His East Indians in the Caribbean: A Bibliography of Imaginative Writing 1894-1984 was published by UWI St. Augustine in 1984.

This amateur academic ‘career’ was cut short by the establishment of Peepal Tree Press in 1985. After years of struggling to manage both lecturing work and Peepal Tree, he was able to take early retirement from his college in 1996 to devote his time fully to Peepal Tree.