Dub Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson Wins Prestigious PEN Pinter Prize

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[Linton Kwesi Johnson PEN Pinter Prize]
The Guardian: "Johnson, who was the first Black poet ever to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series with his collection Mi Revalueshanary Fren."
Photo: YouTube

The legendary "Dub" Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ) reading his poetry in 2018.

Linton Kwesi Johnson has won the PEN Pinter prize, with the Jamaican dub poet’s “political ferocity” and “tireless scrutiny of history” praised as “truly Pinteresque” by judges.

The award, set up by writers’ organization English PEN, is intended to defend freedom of expression and celebrate literature, honoring a writer who, as Harold Pinter put it in his 2005 Nobel prize speech, casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world and shows a “fierce intellectual determination ... to define the real truth of our lives and our societies.”

Johnson, who was the first Black poet ever to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series with his collection Mi Revalueshanary Fren, joins former winners of the prize including Lemn Sissay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Margaret Atwood.

The 67-year-old poet said that “awards are the nourishment of every artist’s ego”, and that it was “always nice to be acknowledged”. “It is especially gratifying to receive an award that honors the memory of esteemed dramatist Harold Pinter – free thinker, anti-imperialist and human rights champion,” he added.

Claire Armitstead, the Guardian’s associate editor for culture and a trustee for English PEN, said that once nominations for the award were laid out, it “took all of two seconds” for her and her fellow judges “to agree that we had a clear and outstanding winner”.

For the rest of this Guardian story log on to: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jul/07/living-legend-linton-kwesi...

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