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Linton Kwesi Johnson: Time Come: Selected Prose


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‘An outstanding collection’ Caryl Phillips 

‘Sharp and still relevant’ Zadie Smith


Recognized as one of the great poets of modern times, and as a deeply respected and influential political and cultural activist and social critic, Linton Kwesi Johnson is also a prolific writer of non-fiction. In Time Come, he selects some of his most powerful prose – book and record reviews published in newspapers and magazines, lectures, obituaries and speeches – for the first time. Written over many decades, it is a body of work that draws creatively and critically on Johnson’s own Jamaican roots and on Caribbean history to explore the politics of race that continue to inform the Black British experience.

Ranging from reflections on the place of music in Caribbean and Black British culture as a creative, defiant response to oppression, to his penetrating appraisals of music and literature, and including warm tributes paid to the activists and artists who inspired him to find his own voice as a poet and compelled him to contribute to the struggle for racial equality and social justice, Time Come is a panorama of an exceptional life. A collection that ventures into memoir, it underscores Johnson’s enduring importance in Britain’s cultural history and reminds us of his brilliant, unparalleled legacy.

With an introduction by Paul Gilroy

‘A necessary book from a writer who continues to inspire’ Yomi Sode 


Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in 1952 in Chapelton, Jamaica. He came to London in 1963 and later read sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Whilst still at school he joined the Black Panthers, helped to organise a poetry workshop within the movement and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers. His first book of poems, Voices of the Living and the Dead, was published by Race Today in 1974. His second book, Dread, Beat An’ Blood (Bogle L’Ouverture, 1975) signalled the emergence of a new voice in Caribbean poetry, and was followed by Inglan is a Bitch and Tings An’ Times. LKJ has enjoyed a successful career as a reggae artist on the global stage for over four decades. In 2020, Linton Kwesi Johnson won the PEN Pinter Prize. His selected prose is published as Time Come. He lives in Brixton, south London.


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