Juno-Award-Winning Dub Poet Lillian Allen to Give VIU Gustafson Lecture and Reading

Dub poet Lillian Allen

December 23, 2020 - 1:00pm

The annual lecture will take place online February 11, 2021 via Zoom Webinar

Dub poetry emerged out of the 1960s Jamaican reggae scene to articulate the joy and protest of Black people. Canadian poet Lillian Allen is the “godmother of dub,” and was at the forefront of that international movement. Allen, who continues to innovate in poetry and creative writing pedagogy, has been chosen as Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) 2020-21 Gustafson Distinguished Poet. She will give the Gustafson Lecture on February 11, 2021.

Lillian Allen’s first album of poetry with music, Revolutionary Tea Party (1986), and her second, Conditions Critical (1989)both won Juno Awards. Allen has published several ground-breaking books of poetry – including Rhythm An’ Hardtimes (a Canadian best seller), Psychic Unrest and Women Do This Everyday. Her work for young people includes three books: Why Me, If You See Truth and Nothing But a Hero. Allen has also written plays and books for children, and co-produced and co-directed Blak Wi Blak, a film documentary on Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka. She was a driving force in the 2003 founding of the Canadian dub poetry movement, alongside Afua Cooper, Klyde Broox, Chet Singh, Clifton Joseph and d'bi young anitafrika. Allen’s collection of new and selected works, Make the World New, edited by Ronald Cummings, is due out this summer (2021) with Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Allen will deliver this year’s Gustafson Lecture online, and as Allen is based in Toronto, we expect an online audience from across the country. She will also conduct a student-oriented reading and Q&A that will be open to the VIU community.

  • Reading and Q&A: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 10 am PST/ 1 pm EST
  • Gustafson Lecture: Thursday, February 11, 2021, 5 pm PST/ 8 pm EST

Register for the reading or lecture or both via this Zoom Webinar link. If you’d like to be put on a list to have further announcements and links sent to you, please email sonnet.labbe@viu.ca.



Dr. Sonnet L’Abbé

Chair, Creative Writing and Journalism

Professor, English


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