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Johnson wins 2020 PEN Pinter Prize

In the UK, poet and reggae artist Linton Kwesi Johnson has been awarded the 2020 PEN Pinter Prize.

Prize judge Claire Armitstead said: ‘Once we had laid our nominations on the table, it took all of two seconds to agree that we had a clear and outstanding winner for the PEN Pinter Prize 2020.’

‘Linton Kwesi Johnson is a poet, reggae icon, academic, and campaigner, whose impact on the cultural landscape over the last half-century has been colossal and multi-generational,’ said Armitstead. ‘His political ferocity and his tireless scrutiny of history are truly Pinteresque, as is the humor with which he pursues them.’

Founded in 2009 in honour of the playwright Harold Pinter, the annual prize is awarded to a writer with a body of work that shows ‘outstanding literary merit’, who 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’. The prize is shared with an international writer of courage, to be selected by the winner in association with English PEN’s Writers at Risk Committee.

Former winners of the award include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Margaret Atwood. For more information, see the English PEN website.


Category: Awards International news