Trinidad-born literary scholar Wayne Vincent Brown, the former editor of the Jamaica Observer’s Literary Arts magazine and Sunday Observer columnist, died this past week after a long battle with cancer.
Brown, was born on July 18, 1944, in Trinidad, and in 1997 had settled permanently in Jamaica, where he had graduated from the University of the West Indies.
Brown was a poet, journalist and creative writing teacher who had won the Commonwealth Prize for poetry with his first collection of poems, On the Coast (1972), which will be republished shortly by Peepal Tree Press. He went on to publish another collection of poems, Voyages (1989), and several collections of short stories and autobiographical stories, among them Child of the Sea (1990), Landscape with Heron (2000), and the forthcoming The Scent of the Past (also from Peepal Tree Press). In 1976, Brown published Edna Manley: The PrivateYears, a biography. He is also remembered as the editor of the first major collection of Derek Walcott’s poetry, Derek Walcott: Selected Poetry (Heinemann 1981), and of the Beraring Witness anthologies published by the Jamaica Observer. Through the Observer Literary Arts weekly magazine, which he began editing in 1998, he opened a forum for new Caribbean writers, among them Andrew ‘Kei’ Miller, Millicent Graham, Sharon Leach, Frances Coke, Julia Rypinski, and Gwyneth Barber Wood. He was also known for his weekly column in the Sunday Observer, “Our Time,” and most recently for his new column in the Trinidad Express, “In the Obama Era,” which also appeared in the Barbados Nation and in Guyana’s Stabroek News.
Brown is survived by his partner, Mignon Manderson-Jones, and his two daughters, Mariel and Saffrey. Speaking from Jamaica yesterday, Mariel, whose documentary film, The Solitary Alchemist, is currently being shown in the 2009 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, said a private memorial for family and very close friends would be held for her father this past weekend in Jamaica.
See obituaries in the Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/html/20090915T210000-0500_159773_OBS_TREVOR_RHONE__WAYNE_BROWN_ARE_DEAD.asp and the Trinidad Express http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=161532422