Edward Archibald Markham was born in Montserrat in the West Indies, the youngest of four children. In 1956, he moved to England with his family, who neglected to send Markham to school for two years, having him work instead. He eventually studied philosophy and literature at the University of Wales. Interested in drama, he founded the Caribbean Theatre Workshop and traveled to the Caribbean. Markham worked as a media coordinator in Papua New Guinea and taught at a number of universities in England. A writer of both poetry and prose, he started publishing poetry in the 1970s, sometimes under the names of two invented personas: Paul St. Vincent and Sally Goodman.