Having migrated from Jamaica in 1948, James Berry set about fulfilling his dream of becoming a creative writer. He published poetry and short stories, compiled influential anthologies of Black writing, and won awards including the 1981 National Poetry Prize and the 1987 Smarties Prize. His 2007 poetry collection Windrush Songs recalls his own experiences of migration alongside the voices of other characters. ‘Sitting Up Past Midnight’ sees Berry’s father meditating on his son’s desire for education. Like much of his work it demonstrates Berry’s ability to write ‘in voice’, using Jamaican dialect and making it accessible to a wider public.