Known as Mr.Tim Tim in the theatrical world, Paul Keens-Douglas is one of the most eloquent and best-known raconteurs and social commentators in the English-speaking Caribbean. Born in Trinidad on 22/9/42, he spent his early childhood in Grenada where he attended the St. George’s Methodist School and Presentation Boys College.
He holds diplomas in Commercial Broadcasting and Radio/TV Production from Announcer Training Studios and RCA Institutes of New York, a B.A (Honors) Degree in Sociology from Sir George Williams University (Concordia), Montreal, Canada, and has done two years post-graduate work at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica where he was also Sub-Warden at Irvine Hall.
Active in drama from an early age, he has a wide and varied background in Theatre and the Creative Arts. Since his return to Trinidad in 1974, he has focused on highlighting the Trinidad & Tobago and Eastern Caribbean vernacular in dramatic presentations and advertising, both as writer, performer, and producer. Over the years he has become a leading exponent of the oral traditions of which his annual Tim Tim Show and Carnival Talk Tent have become hallmarks.
A self-published author he has to his credit nine volumes of work, fifteen albums, three videos, sixteen CD’s and two DVD’s. His work has been featured in many anthologies and well-known international publications, has been highlighted on the BBC, Canadian and American radio and television, and throughout the Caribbean media and has been translated and published in German and French Creole. His collection Tanti at de Oval was recently translated and published in Japanese by Japanese writer Chikae Taniguchi.
The characters he has created such as Tanti at de Oval, Vibert, Timultaneous, Sugar George, Tingalae, Bobots, Dr. Ah-Ah and many others have become an indelible part of the Caribbean literary landscape. Only recently his well-known story Tanti at de Oval was included in the MCC anthology of cricket verse A Quiet Hush.
Other Cricket Anthologies that feature his stories include: Macmillan: Caribbean Lives-Brian Lara; ArtsEtcInc.: Shouts from the Outfield ; Peepal Press: The Bowling Was Superfine.
His film credits include the National Geographic- Natural World award-winning wildlife film Vampires, Devilbirds & Spirits. He has also produced When Winds Blow a special radio series on disaster preparedness
The remarkable thing about his work is its wide appeal, an appeal that covers all classes and age groups, but at the same time is wholesome and family-oriented. What’s more, the manner in which he presents his material makes him easily understood by foreign audiences in both the business and artistic arena.
An international performer, Paul makes regular tours of the Caribbean territories and metropolitan countries, entertaining and educating audiences with his marvelous, humor, wit, poetry, storytelling, and social commentary.
In ‘Voices in the Century’, a special millennium edition of the CARICOM Perspective, Paul along with Louise Bennett of Jamaica was highlighted for their contribution in shaping the course of Caribbean development in their area of cultural concern. Indeed Paul Keens-Douglas is seen more as a regional personality rather than belonging to any particular territory. A true Caricom man, he was part of the special presentations marking the 30th Anniversary of Caricom in Montego Bay, Jamaica and its 40th Anniversary at Chaguaramas, Trinidad in 2013.
A former Creative Director with McCann-Erickson (T’dad) Ltd he works within the advertising industry developing creative concepts, programs, promotions and events planning for a variety of clients. His company Keensdee Productions Ltd focuses on management and staff training, with an emphasis on inter-personal and cross-cultural communication. As such he has become a much sought-after Conference Presenter and Motivational Speaker.
In trying to describe Paul Keens-Douglas one often has a problem, so broad is his scope. He is writer, poet, dramatist, lecturer and entertainer all rolled into one. A prolific writer, there seems to be no end to the steady stream of poetry, stories and humor that flows from his fertile imagination.
He reflects and records many of the sayings, opinions and beliefs that proliferate the everyday conversation of the West Indian man-in-the- street. In a sense all of Paul’s work reflects this concern with the everyday thing’s of life, the things we take for granted but may be more important to our being than we know.
Much of Paul’s success lies in his sheer skill as a performer. But it also has to do with his working at a form and a language that aims at valid literary meaning, without the alienating effects of more formal styles and tones: something more natural more comfortable. Like his counterpart the late Louise Bennett of Jamaica, Paul’s work has done a lot to promote and elevate the writing of nation language, and has opened doors and set example and standards for young Caribbean writers to follow. There is room and space for every kind of writing, whatever it is called. And if there was any doubt that the use of the vernacular or native language could effectively deal with serious themes, Paul’s range of work should dispel them.
Those who want laughter get it, those who want a sensitive response to the problems and lunacies of the day get it, and in the same work. It is the living of life that seems important to Paul. That being the case we can expect anything from him any time, he has a whole world of material to choose from. We are fortunate that in Paul Keens-Douglas we have an artist who can so eloquently express his own work.