Lillian Allen moved from Spanish Town, Jamaica to North America in the late '60s. She studied in New York City and in Toronto and later emerged as a major influential figure on Canada's cultural landscape. An internationally acclaimed poet, she is recognized as a key originator and a leading exponent of dub poetry. As well, she is a writer of plays and short fiction. She writes for both adults and young people. She frequently travels across Canada and the United States and has toured Europe, the Caribbean and England, lecturing and performing. She is an award winning recording artist and has received two Canadian Juno Awards for her poetry with music. She has also worked in film and co-produced / co-directed Blak Wi Blakk, a film on Jamaican Rastafarian dub poet Mutabaruka. Allen has been a consultant and advisor on issues of diversity, equity, organizational responsiveness, and community building. She has been a member of the City of Toronto arts and cultural reference group for the City's new Official Plan, has developed a cultural diversity strategy for the City's Culture Division, and has been a member of the Canada Council for the Arts Racial Equity Advisory.