Gustafson Trust

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

Lillian Allen

Photo provided by the artist

The annual lecture will take place online on February 11, 2021.

Dub poetry emerged out of the 1960s Jamaican reggae scene to articulate the joy and protest of Black people; and Canadian poet Lillian Allen, the “godmother of dub,” was at the forefront of that international movement. Allen has been chosen as the 2020-21 Gustafson Distinguished Poet, and 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 groundbreaking books of poetry – including Rhythm An’ Hardtimes (a Canadian best seller), Psychic Unrest, and Women Do This Everyday. Her multidisciplinary work for young people includes three books: Why MeIf 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 Dub Poets Collective, alongside Afua Cooper, Klyde Broox, Chet Singh, Clifton Joseph, d’bi young anitafrika, and Sankofa Juba; and in 2004 she hosted Wordbeat, a CBC Radio program on poetry and spoken word.

Allen will deliver this year’s Gustafson Lecture online. Because she is based in Toronto, we have set the time to invite an 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 - 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern

Gustafson Lecture  

Thursday, February 11, 2021 -  5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern

Registration details for both will be forthcoming on this page, and links will be sent to registrants just prior to each event.

If you’d like to be put on a list to have further announcements and links sent to you, please email

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