Alfred Fagon was born 25 June 1937 in Clarendon, Jamaica. He came to Britain in 1955 where he worked for British Rail in Nottingham. He then joined the Royal Signal Corps and he went on to become the army's middleweight champion in 1962. He spent some time traveling and singing Calypso, he also trained and worked as a welder before settling in Bristol to pursue his acting and writing career. His first stage appearance was at the Bristol Arts Centre, in Henry Livings' play, The Little Mrs Foster Show. His role in Mustapha Matura's play Black Pieces brought him to the ICA in London in 1970. He went on to write and produce plays such as 11 Josephine House, Death of a Blackman, Four Hundred Pounds, No Soldiers in St Paul and Lonely Cowboy. He also wrote Shakespeare Country, a BBC2 production of his play of the same name. He also wrote many poems including a series called Waterwell.
The circumstances surrounding Fagon's death were controversial and require some further explanation. On 29 August 1986 he suffered a fatal heart attack while jogging near his home. The police claimed that they could not find any contacts for him and as a result he was given a pauper's funeral. When he did not turn up for a meeting at the BBC they contacted his agent Harriet Cruickshank who eventually discovered what had happened to him. Alfred Fagon's friends and family decided to set up an award in his name, to celebrate and recognise writers of Caribbean and African descent. The Alfred Fagon Award was set up in 1997 and is supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation, The Royal Court Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company.