Keep On Keeping On: Celebrating Andrew Salkey

Andrew Salkey, monochrome

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We mark the life and legacy of Jamaican writer and poet Andrew Salkey

This is an online only event hosted on the British Library platform. Bookers will be sent a viewing link shortly before the event and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

Join us for an evening of readings, stories and conversation celebrating the life and work of the Jamaican poet, writer, broadcaster and activist, Andrew Salkey (1928–1995). Andrew Salkey was a co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement, a writer, a poet, and a teacher. He embodied the Black Radical Tradition in his writing, his politics, and in his support for other creative individuals.

This event reflects on the depth and breadth of Salkey’s work and his myriad of interests with contributions and reflections from his son Jason Salkey, the poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and the writer, Gwen Strauss, who both regarded Salkey as a friend and mentor. The poet, Raymond Antrobus, talks about Salkey’s poetry and how it influenced his own work and Eric Huntley, an early publisher of Salkey’s works, looks back at their friendship.

Jason Salkey is an actor and the son of Andrew Salkey. In 1992 he was cast in one of British television’s most cherished shows, Sharpe. Jason has appeared in films including Memphis Belle, The Russia House, The Steal, Fifth Element, Turn of the Screw, Fairy Tale: A True Story, About a Boy, In America, Road to Guantanamo, The Infidel and Shadowdancer. In the summer of 2021, Jason followed in his father’s footsteps with release of his memoir, From Crimea With Love: Misadventures in the making of Sharpe’s Rifles.

Raymond Antrobus was born in London to an English mother and Jamaican father. He’s a Cave Canem Fellow and the author of To Sweeten Bitter, The Perseverance and All The Names Given as well as children’s picture book Can Bears Ski? He is the 2019 recipient of the Ted Hughes Award as well as the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award, and became the first poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize. His first full-length collection, The Perseverance was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and The Forward Prize.

Linton Kwesi Johnson is known and revered as the world's first dub poet. Born in Jamaica, he came to England in 1963. Whilst 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. He gained a sociology degree in the mid-1970s from Goldsmiths' College, London, and had poems, inspired by politics and the Black movement, published in the journal Race Today. Linton has toured the world from Japan to South Africa, Europe to Brazil. In 2020 he was the recipient of the PEN Pinter Prize. 

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Name: Keep On Keeping On: Celebrating Andrew Salkey
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546

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