Derek Fenton was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in 1946. He was educated at Milton School and Natal and Harare Universities. He returned to Milton where he taught English before travelling to Europe.
After several years in London where he worked as a milkman, labourer and at numerous clerical jobs, he emigrated to Western Australia. On becoming an Australian citizen he returned to Africa for six years working in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa which served as the inspiration for much of his poetry.
He now lives back in Australia where he teaches Mathematics and English as a Second Language. His poetry is informed by the experience of being a migrant and the difficulties of adjustment to a new country and alienation from the old.
He has had poems published by Les Murray in Quadrant magazine, a leading Australian literary journal, and a poem short-listed for publication in the Westerly a literary journal of the University of Western Australia. A humorous poem about the Australian and South African accents was also published in the West Australian newspaper.