Time Come

Linton Kwesi Johnson

11 April 2024
336 pages


‘Key to understanding Black British history’The Sunday Times
‘Sharp and still relevant’ – Zadie Smith

One of the great poets of modern times, and a deeply respected 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 music reviews published in newspapers and magazines, lectures, obituaries and speeches – for the first time. Written over many decades, these works draw 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 penetrating appraisals of novels, films, poems and plays, and including warm tributes paid to the activists and artists who inspired him to contribute to the struggle for racial equality and social justice, Time Come is a panorama of an exceptional life. Venturing 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, author of There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack.

‘A mosaic of wise, urgent and moving pieces’ – Kit de Waal
‘As necessary as ever’ – The Observer
‘A book to be savoured and re-read’ – Derek Owusu
‘An outstanding collection’ – Caryl Phillips
‘A necessary book from a writer who continues to inspire’ – Yomi Sode
‘Incisive, engaging, fearless’ – Gary Younge

Linton Kwesi Johnson brought the aural poetry of Jamaican speech to 'H'england' and captured it in verse. He contributed a sharp and still relevant analysis of class dynamics to our literature. Oh, and he also made music from words. Thank you, Linton!
Flecked with passion; taut and reasoned . . . The grace and power of LKJ's writing are as necessary as ever.
An outstanding collection which speaks to the extraordinary achievement of the voice of my generation. Like all great artists, Linton Kwesi Johnson wasn't called - he simply arrived. For his time, and for the ages.