Dennis Scott was born in Kingston, Jamaica in December of 1939. As a young man, he was educated at Jamaica College, an all-male secondary school, where he performed well. The school was known for both it’s academic and sports achievements. Scott went on to attend the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica.
While Scott was enrolled at the University of West Indies he worked as the assistant editor of Caribbean Quarterly. After his time there he was awarded a Shubert Playwriting Fellowship which required him to travel to Athens, Georgia in the United States. The fellowship lasted for one year, from 1970 to 1971, and was followed by another similar opportunity. This next step in his career, achieving the Commonwealth Fellowship, came from England and took him to Newcastle upon Tyne in the north-eastern part of the country. It was here that he completed an education diploma course.
It was during this period of time that he published his first collection of poetry, Uncle Time. It was released in 1973 and brought him the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. The collection is noted for its exceptional use of vernacular dialect. Scott was recognized as one of the most skilled writers of the common, relatable language of the Jamaican people. This volume solidified his place as one of the most important writers to come from the Caribbean country. His reputation lives on through the work of writers who were deeply inspired by his style and subject matter.
This work was followed by the plays, Dog, and An Echo in the Bone, which were released in 1974. While his reputation sits most heavily within his poetry, his plays have also been recognized for their influence on Caribbean theatre.
After traveling to the United States and England, he returned to Jamaica to teach at the institution of his youth, Jamaica College. He would go on to become the director of the School of Drama at the Cultural Training Centre in Kingston. While later on also teaching at the Yale School of Drama.
It was here that he spent a major part of his career working as the head of the Directing program. His literary life and works were cut short when he died in New Haven Connecticut, in February of 1991.
His legacy lives on today through the originality of his works, as well as his spot as one of the cast members of The Cosby Show.