Born in 1951 in Southampton, UK. After training as a teacher at Nottingham College of Education (1969-72), Stewart Brown studied art and literature at Falmouth School of Art (1975-78), the University of Sussex (1978-79) and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, (1982-87). Between times he spent periods teaching in schools and universities in Jamaica, Nigeria, Wales and Barbados. Since 1988 he has lectured at the Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham, where he was Reader in Caribbean Literature and Director of the Centre for several years. Since 2016 he has been an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the re-designated 'Department of African Studies and Anthropology' at the University of Birmingham and Associate Fellow in the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick. In 2007 he was Visiting Professor in Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies,  Barbados. He has edited several anthologies of African and Caribbean writing, as well as critical studies of the great West Indian poets Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite and Martin Carter. A volume of his essays on poetry, Tourist, Traveller, Troublemaker was published in 2007. As a poet he received a Gregory Award in 1976 and has subsequently published four collections of poems, most recently Elsewhere: new and selected poems. In 2012 he co-edited, with Ian McDonald, a major anthology of historical and contemporary regional writing on cricket, The Bowling was Superfine:West Indian Writers on West Indian cricket.

In the 1970s he had several solo shows of paintings in Jamaica and the UK and although professionally diverted into Literature he continued to make visual images for his sanity's sake – culminating, in 2006, in the first edition of BABEL. (See 'BABEL: a preamble' on the Books and Pictures page of this site.) Volume 1 of BABEL was shown at the Birmingham City Art Gallery in the summer of 2007, as part of the Birmingham Open exhibition, and many of the images were displayed in Second Life, at Brunel University's Isambard Kingdom gallery.  In November 2007  prints and boxes from volumes 1 and 2 of BABEL were exhibited in the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at the University of the West Indies, Barbados. Selections of the BABEL digital prints were shown in the Staff House Gallery of the University of Birmingham in February 2009 and at the Tanzania Publishing House, Dar es Salam, in November 2009. An exhibition of prints and larger wall-works was shown at The Drum Arts Centre, Aston, Birmingham - from mid September through to the end of November 2010, and a selection of BABEL prints were exhibited at Castellani House, the National Gallery of Guyana, in September 2011.  A large scale exhibition of 40 collages, a 'tower of Babel' installation, prints, books and associated materials was shown in the Rotunda Gallery in the Aston Webb building at the University of Birmingham from September 2013 through to February 2014. A selection of the BABEL inkjet prints was also shown in Redmarley, the home of the University's Research and Cultural Collections, to run alongside the Rotunda exhibition. In the summer of 2016 an exhibition of new prints, paintings and collages was shown at the Six Eight Arts Kafé in Birmingham.