Guyanese born author, poet and essayist dies aged 96

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Guyanese born author, poet and essayist, Sir Wilson Harris, who resided in England passed away today in at the age of 96.

He was the father of Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Nigel Harris.

Sir Wilson Harris

In a statement on his death, his family outlined that over a period of 50 years, beginning in 1960, the celebrated author has written 26 novels, numerous works of poetry, essays and speeches.

In 1987, his novel Da Silva da Silva was adapted for a film produced by Tariq Ali of
Bandung Productions for Channel 4 in the UK.

“Perhaps his most cited works are his first four novels, Palace of the Peacock (1960), The Far Journey of Oudin (1961), The Whole Armour ( 1962) and the Secret Ladder (1963), all published by Faber and Faber, which has published all 26 of his novels” the statement issued by Professor Nigel Harris said.

Sir Wilson attended Queens College in Guyana from 1932 –1937. During the years
1945 to 1959 he worked as a land surveyor, primarily in the vast hinterland of
Guyana where he interacted often with the indigenous people who lived there.

According to his family “it is this experience that influenced the imagery of his writing imbued with the magic and mythology of its people. While in Guyana, he was close to other
Guyanese literary figures such as Martin Carter, A.J. Seymour, Ivan Van Sertima
and Sidney King (Eusi Kwayana). He emigrated to England in 1959 and has lived
there since.”

Sir Wilson Harris has been the recipient of several awards including the Guyana Prize for
Literature (1987 and 2002), The Premio Mondello dei Cinque Continenti award
(1992), The Ainsfeld-Wolf Book Award(2014) and honorary degrees from the
University of the West Indies(1984) and University of Liege in Belgium(2001).

In 2010, he was awarded the Honour of Knighthood for services to Literature by
Queen Elizabeth.

He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature on more than one occasion.

Some of his original manuscripts are stored in the Harry Ramsen Collection at the University of Texas in Austin.

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