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Black Bird Press News
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Dub PoetLinton Kwesi Johnson, Gets Golden PEN Award
Golden PEN Award for LKJ
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
LINTON Kwesi Johnson, hailed by many as the father of dub poetry, has been awarded the 2012 Golden PEN Award, one of Britain's most prestigious literary accolades.
The newstatesman.com website reported yesterday that the 60 year-old Johnson confirmed reports that he is the latest recipient of the award in an interview with the Independent newspaper last weekend.
JOHNSON... erupted in the early 70s, a time of social unrest in Britain
"I'm not exactly in the mainstream of the British literary scene; I'm nearer the periphery," Johnson told the Independent. He added that he has not written in years.
"If a poem happens to come to me, I write it. But I am not bothered. If I never write another poem, so be it."
The Golden PEN is awarded to people whose work has "a profound impact on readers and who is held in high regard by fellow writers and the literary community".
Authors Salman Rushdie and Margaret Drabble and theatre legend Harold Pinter are previous winners of the award which was launched in 1993.
Johnson was born in Clarendon but migrated to the United Kingdom in his early teens. There, he was struck by the racism toward blacks and other minorities which inspired him to write some of the most powerful anti-establishment work of the 1970s.
His 1978 album, Dread Beat an' Blood, is considered by many to be his landmark work. Other notable collections include Forces of Victory which was released the following year and 1980's Bass Culture.
Johnson's work erupted in the early 70s, a time of social unrest in Britain. His fiery poems influenced first-generation British reggae bands like Aswad, Steel Pulse and Misty In Roots.
He also had a strong fan base in his native Jamaica which included young poets like Mutabaruka and Yasus Afari.
Johnson's last album, Live in Paris With the Dennis Bovell Dub Band, was released in 2004. He still tours with that band.