Linton Kwesi Johnson was awarded the Golden PEN Award from English PEN on 3 December for his lifetime achievement in poetry and his record of activism. Johnson was not able to attend the ceremony at the Free Word Centre in London, but had made a video where he stressed how he has never sought validation from the arbiters of poetic taste in the UK, and that whatever he has achieved has been done on his own terms from a position of cultural autonomy. Thanking English PEN for giving him the award, Johnson also paid tribute to the country of his birth, Jamaica, and its global cultural impact, which he credited as one of the main reasons for his success. Fittingly, Johnson noted that he would be donating the money from the award to the LKJ Charitable Educational Trust, recently established by him to help impoverished Jamaican schoolchildren.
Also see LKJ’s video accepting the award: