Linton Kwesi Johnson Wins PEN Pinter Prize
Poet and reggae musician Linton Kwesi Johnson has been awarded the PEN Pinter Prize 2020. He will receive the award in a digital ceremony co-hosted by the British Library on October 12.
This year's judges were Clare Armitstead, associate culture editor of The Guardian; Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher of Dialogue Books, and author Max Porter. Of Johnson, they said: "Few post-war figures have been as unwaveringly committed to political expression in their work."
Johnson, who Lovegrove called a "living legend," is only the second living poet and first Black poet to be included in the Penguin Modern Classics series.
The Pinter Prize was established in 2009 and is awarded annually to a writer of outstanding literary merit resident in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize in Literature 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’.