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Obituary: Amryl Johnson

Tributes have been paid to a poet with an international reputation who studied and performed in Coventry as part of the International Women’s Festival.

Amryl JohnsonAmryl Johnson, who died on 28 December last year, was a magnificent performance poet with an international reputation as a performer and a writer.

She won a worldwide reputation with her performance poetry and studied at Warwick University.

During her periods as poet in residence in the UK, her lecture tours abroad and poetry readings at international literary festivals, Amryl became a major force in modern African Caribbean literature.

Her work is included in most anthologies of African-Caribbean Poetry and Writing and she was well-received when she appeared in Coventry at the women’s festival in 1999.

Her friend of many years, Sylvia Barker said:

"It is an awful shock - Amryl was such a lifelong friend that it is impossible to imagine that she is not still with us.

“There were two Amryls - the public personality, the talented writer who gave so much to so many people and the person that her friends knew; a strong vibrant woman, with a sharp sense of humour, and a deep sense of justice, which is reflected in her poetry.

“With her love of life, she gave loyalty and support to her many friends. We will always recall her memorable performance in the same programme as Maya Angelou in London. "

Her legacy is the body of written work she has left behind which include poems, books and plays which are read and performed all over the world, including:

The Long Road to Nowhere  Virago 1985

Sequins for a Ragged Hem   Virago 1988 

Let it be told "Essays by Black FemaleWriters" Virago Press 1988

Blood and Wine  Kofa Press 1991

Taking Reality by Surprise, "Essays on Writing and Being Published"

Women's Press 1991

Lilies for my Grandmother

Gorgons  Kofa press 1992

Tread Softly in Paradise   Kofa Press

Calling - a collection of poems 2000


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CWN / People / Amryl Johnson  / 13 Feb 01

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