Peter Lauchmonen Kempadoo was born on a sugar estate in Guyana in 1926, in a community mainly of Indians whose foreparents had come from Madras. It provides the setting for his autobiographical novel, Guyana Boy (1960 and Peepal Tree, 2001). After leaving school he worked for a time in the sugar factory, then as a teacher and later as a reporter in Georgetown. He has returned frequently to Guyana where he did important work in the 1970s taping folk performances and documenting a people's culture which has now largely disappeared.
He lived for some years in Barbados, and has worked in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, carrying out rural development work among grass-roots communities, but has mainly been based in the UK where he first moved in 1953.
In addition to Guyana Boy, he is also the author of Old Thom's Harvest (1965). His work has been anthologised in The Sun's Eye and My Lovely Native Land.