Reading Bass Culture: Linton Kwesi Johnson in conversation with Paul Gilroy

linton kwesi johnson

On 26 April 2018, Linton Kwesi Johnson will participate in a conversation with Paul Gilroy interspersed with readings from his poetry. This special gathering of the Postcolonial Writing and Theory seminar will explore what the aesthetic-political legacy of Johnson’s poetry today might be, how we read bass culture, and what happens when this work is taught and read in an English department. What is gained and lost within this framework? What can Johnson’s poetry tell us about the institutionalisation of Black British writing and culture in recent years?

Linton Kwesi Johnson is an acclaimed Jamaican-born British poet and performer. He coined and popularised the term dub poetry, a form of performance-based oral poetry inspired by reggae music. In 2002, he became only the second living poet published in the Penguin Modern Classics series. As well as having released several commercially successful and classic albums as a reggae artist, Johnson’s volumes of poetry include Voices of the Living and the Dead (1974), Dread Beat and Blood (1975), and Inglan is a Bitch (1980). 

Paul Gilroy is Professor of American and English Literature at King’s College London, a foundational figure in the field of Black Atlantic Studies, and a world-leading scholar in cultural studies and the music of the black diaspora.

The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

Introduced and chaired by Louisa Layne 
Closing remarks Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford)

Admission is free; booking is essential. Please register here

View the poster here.

This event is a special Postcolonial Writing and Theory Seminar, a closing event in the Great Writers Inspire at Home Series and keynote event for the Mellon-funded ‘Humanities & Identities’ series at TORCH. This event is also part of the Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds project.