Adrian Calloo is a British writer, author of Night Flutes: A Book of Poetry and ‘A Monster in Harlem – A murder mystery set in the Harlem Renaissance
Born to Caribbean parents; Daphne Calloo, a fraud analyst and Clinton Jnr Williams, a clothing designer, in the London Borough of Southwark, Calloo spent most of his formative years in Walthamstow, East London after his parents fled the increasing racial tensions in Tottenham that had escalated after the tragic Broadwater Farm riots.
When Calloo arrived at his new East London home, he came across books, left behind by the previous owners and spent a considerable amount of time lost in the universe of Garth, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and other comic books from the 60’s and 70’s.
This discovery may have ignited Calloo’s interest in story-telling.
A library card for the local Wood Street library opened up a whole new world of books and Calloo didn’t waste time in going through all of the Asterix and Tintin comics and by the age of nine, he was reading horror novels.
Calloo cites Stephen King, James Herbert and Enid Blyton as some of the authors that influenced his love for storytelling.
”My Mum told me that when I was in Junior school I used to wander out of the middle of a class and the teacher would find me in the reading area, engrossed in a book.’‘
In secondary school, teachers noticed his talent for writing essays and poetry and Calloo was asked to write for the school magazine.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Calloo got caught up in the wrong crowd and began spending more time on the streets; getting into trouble with gangs and the law.
When a school friend was brutally murdered, it gave him a reality check and he vowed to himself that he would not go down that path and ended up joining a music band, put together by a local music artist manager.
The band consisted of five members including Leon Jean Marie ❨Island Records ❩ and traveled all over the country supporting British 90’s acts such as Damage and Shola Ama and even had the opportunity to share the stage with British R&B legends The Real Thing.
Unfortunately, after a couple of years, the band split due to artistic differences and Calloo found himself in a 9-5 where he began to focus on his first love; writing and reading novels.
”The whole music biz thing wasn’t a waste of time. It was a valuable lesson in what hard work can accomplish. One minute I was singing in my living room, the next I was sharing the stage with my childhood idols. My manager Richard Williams taught me that to get real good at something you need to work at it, every single day. There are no days off. ”
Calloo applied this valuable lesson to his writing and began to practice the craft everyday. It wasn’t until his early 30’s that he decided he had what it took to be a professional author.
During this time, he also battled with depression and drug addiction.
”I was living the bohemian lifestyle but I was also ignoring my well-being and, after a while, it wears you down. I didn’t know what I wanted out of life anymore but I was always writing. Writing helped me to confront my emotions. It made me feel human. I always wrote sober. When I wasn’t writing, I was getting drunk and high. ”
Eventually, he turned his life around and moved from London to Portsmouth to live with a child-hood friend.
There, he discovered meditation and self-enquiry and maintained a gym routine while keeping to a healthy diet.
While living in Portsmouth he became a brief member of the Portsmouth Writers hub where he gained valuable literary advice from writers such as Crime author Zoe Sharpe, Poet Dean Atta and best-selling author Cressida ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Cowell.