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Brian Meeks was born in Montreal, Canada of West Indian parents and grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. He has taught political science at the University of the West Indies, Mona for many years and has published three books on radical and revolutionary politics in the Caribbean.
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 Kwame Dawes’s recent Wheel and Come Again (Peepal Tree, 1999).
Paint the Town Red, his first novel, 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 the 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.
"Writing Paint the Town Red was a cathartic experience. 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."