Linton Kwesi Johnson

Collin Patterson

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in 1952 in Chapelton, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica. He came to London in 1963, went to Tulse Hill secondary school and studied sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He was a member of the Black Panthers and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers. In 1977 he was awarded a C. Day-Lewis Fellowship, becoming the writer-in-residence of Lambeth. He then worked at the Keskidee Centre, Britain’s first home for Black theater and art. In 1974 Race Today published Johnson’s first collection of poetry, Voices of the Living and the Dead. He has had four more books published and in 2002 became only the second living poet and the first Black poet to have his work included in the Penguin Modern Classics series, under the title Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. Johnson’s first album, Dread Beat An Blood, was released in 1978, and he has since released fourteen more albums, including LKJ Live in Paris (2004), a CD and DVD celebrating his twenty-fifth anniversary as a reggae recording artist. Linton Kwesi Johnson has been running his record label, LKJ Records, since 1981. He has worked in journalism and has toured the world with the Dennis Bovell Dub Band. The recipient of fourteen awards from around the world, Johnson became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2013 and received Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (Commander Class) in 2014. He is a trustee of the George Padmore Institute and the 198 Gallery.

Books by this author

Awards and Honors

Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (Commander Class), 2014

Fellowship, Royal Society of Literature, 2013

Institute of Jamaica Musgrave Medal, 2005

C. Day-Lewis Fellowship, 1977