Margaret Busby OBE, Hon. FRSL (Nana Akua Ackon) is a major cultural figure in Britain and around the world.
Margaret Busby was born in Ghana and educated in the UK, graduating from London University. She became Britain’s youngest and first black woman publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby in the late 1960s and published notable authors including Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah, Rosa Guy, C. L. R. James, Michael Moorcock and Jill Murphy. An editor, broadcaster, and literary critic, she has also written drama for BBC radio and the stage. Her radio abridgements and dramatizations encompass work by Henry Louis Gates, Timothy Mo, Walter Mosley, Jean Rhys, Sam Selvon and Wole Soyinka, among others. She has judged numerous national and international literary competitions, and served on the boards of such organizations as the Royal Literary Fund, Wasafiri magazine and the Africa Centre.
A long-time campaigner for diversity in publishing, she is the recipient of many awards, including the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award in 2015 and the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature in 2017. She lives in London.
Interviews and Features
New Daughters of Africa on PassBlue
PassBlue, an independent, women-led journalism site, shares excerpts from New Daughters of Africa and discusses the writers who were involved in the publication.
‘The writers in the anthology are often the children of African independence, and they remain placed in their land and deep generational cultures.’ Read more here.
New Daughters of Africa in The Sunday Times South Africa
New Daughters of Africa features in The Sunday Times South Africa.
‘New Daughters of Africa addresses obstacles faced by black women writers. Custom, tradition, friendships, sisterhood, romance, sexuality, intersectional feminism, the politics of gender, identity and more are explored in this collection of work from over 200 writers.’
New Daughters of Africa in the The Times Literary Supplement
New Daughters of Africa received high accolades and front page treatment in The Times Literary Supplement.
‘This remarkable book constitutes a powerful affirmation of literary achievement, demonstrating that contemporary black women writers are part of a vital and extensive tradition. Just as significantly, the anthology brings these works into dialogue with one another, becoming a potent assertion of a collective identity that transcends political, religious, linguistic, regional and generational boundaries… The book’s structure also helps the reader to discern subtle shifts in the way certain themes are represented over time… New Daughters of Africa demonstrates that this work does not exist in a vacuum. Black women writers have always had something significant to say to the world and to each other.’
George Padmore Newsletter
The George Padmore Institute, based in London, is an archive, educational resource and research centre housing materials relating to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe.
HYPEBAE 10 Books to Add to Your Summer 2019 Reading List
Ready to be overwhelmed in the very best way? All curated, edited and introduced by Margaret Busby, this collection of work across a wide-range of genres gives us a window into the extraordinary lives of excellent women.
New Daughters of Africa features in HYPEBAE’s 10 books to add to your summer 2019 reading list.
Book of the Week – Greenwich Book Festival
New Daughters of Africa is Book of the Week at Greenwich Book Festival! Catch Margaret Busby, Malorie Blackman, Bridget Minamore and Diana Evans at Greenwich Book Festival on the 15th June. More Information HERE
What happened to Britain’s black avant-garde fiction writers?
‘Why did it take me so long to learn of Margaret Busby, who became the first black woman and youngest publisher in Britain, and whose recent New Daughters of Africa shows black women writers in Britain well before the arrival of the Windrush generation.’
Shola von Reinhold discusses the black writers and creatives who existed in the artistic folds of Britain but whose history wasn’t shared alongside more well-known artists because of the colour of their skin. Shola explores the role Margaret played as the first black woman publisher in Britain, whilst also highlighting other publishers and artists working to promote and celebrate black authors and artists in Britain today. Read the article in full over on the Independent website.
The Female Edit: Alt Africa Review feature New Daughters of Africa
New Daughters of Africa editor Margaret Busby and contributors Adeola Solanke, Candace Allen, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Carmen Harris, Yemisi Aribisala, Anni Domingo feature in the Spring 2019 issue of Alt A Review, which you can buy HERE.
Call Them Feminist Press – Celebrating African Women in Literature
‘In this essay, I turn my thoughts away from arresting visual art to focus on a landmark union: Margaret Busby OBE with Candida Lacey of Myriad Editions and 200+ women from Africa and her Diasporas. It is a great literary assembly put together for the purpose of reconstructing perceptions about Africa and her women; celebrating African women in literature and showcasing the dazzling range of their work…’
A fantastic essay on African Women in Literature and New Daughters of Africa by literary journalist and publicist Olatoun Gabi-Williams on the Borders Literature Online website.
A Life Transcending Boarders: Africa Writes
Africa Writes delves into the life of Margaret Busby, discussing her epic contribution to the representation of black women in publishing. ‘By vocalising the narratives of the marginalised, Margaret Busby has expanded the possibility of learning, and has ultimately opened the door for dialogue to occur.’
Read the article in full HERE.
New Daughters of Africa head to Charleston Festival
The Sussex Express features New Daughters of Africa in the run up to Charleston Festival, where Margaret Busby, Diana Evans and Bonnie Greer will be discussing the book on May 22nd at 3pm. Tickets are now available via the Charleston Festival website. Read the full article here.
Olatoun Gabi-Williams for The Guardian Arts
‘At once a war-front, a home-front and a sanctuary for our souls, the page is where Africa’s literary daughters wield our pens like swords to stake our claim to a true feminism whose power, urgency and truth can be found only at gender’s intersections: colonialism, race, culture, class, sexuality, history and nation.’ A fabulous article in The Guardian Arts by Olatoun Gabi-Williams, discussing Margaret Busby, Myriad Editions and New Daughters of Africa. Read in full here.
Of Africa and of India by Marina Salandy-Brown
‘Margaret Busby has returned with New Daughters of Africa to showcase a younger generation of writers, some of whom the literary establishment has yet to recognize adequately, but it also includes superstars like Edwidge Danticat of Haiti, Nigerian, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith (UK) and recently deceased Andrea Levy (UK). Caribbean writers are well represented by the likes of Karen Lord, Claudia Rankine, Lisa Allen Agostini, Malorie Blackman, Nalo Hopkinson, and others, some of whom will join Busby at this year’s festival.’
Marina Salandy-Brown discusses the importance of the title on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
Trinidad Daily Express
Recently published New Daughters of Africa features in an article by Professor Selwyn Cudjoe for the Trinidad Daily Express. He says of Margaret Busby, editor of the book, ‘She remains a prolific African griot who is always doing book reviews and radio programs, writing articles and obituaries, and acting as a one-woman repository of black people’s writing.’
Read the article in full here.
Books in the Media features New Daughters of Africa
New Daughters of Africa: amplifying black women’s voices The Voice Online
‘It’s fitting that New Daughters of Africa was launched in March, because there is an undeniable feeling around the book that history is in fact being made.
The anthology, the brainchild of Margaret Busby, brings together 200 black female writers from across the diaspora. It’s less of a follow up from the first, more of a wonderful and exciting child that’s a testament to the impact of the previous publication of its kind by the writer.
Speaking to Life & Style about the need for the book now, Busby said: “There are so many writers who need to have a light shone on their work, that’s why.’
Alannah Francis for The Voice Online. Read in full here.
Financial Times highlights New Daughters of Africa
Imani Perry, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, praises New Daughters of Africa in the Financial Times.
‘I have found myself returning to a phrase of one of the writers in the anthology who was new to me. In her 1993 essay “The Autobiography of an Idea”, Arthenia Bates Millican wrote: “I have kissed the darkness hello. And as I move, I search through that darkness for the most brilliant fight.” This is the calling, and the beauty, of both the old and the new daughters of Africa.’
Podcast - Margaret Busby – Why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism? Books Podcast with The Guardian
On this week’s podcast, legendary publisher Margaret Busby joins Claire in the studio to discuss New Daughters of Africa, her follow-up anthology to her groundbreaking collection Daughters of Africa, which established many black female writers as names almost three decades ago.Hear the podcast
Angela Cobbinah and New Daughters of Africa in the Camden New Journal
Camden New Journal reported from the SOAS launch for New Daughters of Africa.‘
‘A raw and touching little memoir of the childhood years of Angela Cobbinah, a regular contributor to the New Journal – and its co-founder in 1982 – has been chosen in a prestigious anthology of the writings of women of African descent, edited by the illustrious publisher Margaret Busby.’
‘It tells of her early years – often puzzling and painful – as the only black child in a Cornish village where she lived with her mother, a Hungarian refugee who had become the local midwife – her father had returned to his native country, Ghana.’
‘Her name sits among such household literary names as Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Adichie, Andrea Levy and Marion Blackman but also many unknowns. Typical of Angela’s writings, her 3,000-word memoir displays a candour and insightfulness that beautifully illustrates a maturing mind caught up in an atmosphere of prejudice and ignorance.’
Read more here.
Vast and Nuanced Collection – The Irish Times featured New Daughters of Africa and loved it
New Daughters of Africa received huge praise in this review of the anthology by The Irish Times.
‘Some of the short stories will make you hold your breath… The result is a necessary wealth of work – a welcome addition to any book shelf and a compulsory education for anyone unaware of the countless gifted African women journalists, essayists, poets and speakers who should influence how we see the world. Sometimes you need an anthology to remind you of the variety, strength and nuance of writing among a certain region or group of people. New Daughters of Africa is indispensable because African voices have been silenced or diminished throughout history, and women’s voices even more so.’
BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour
Podcast - BBC Radio London: Inspirit with Jumoke Fashola
BBC Radio London: Inspirit with Jumoke Fashola invited Margaret Busby onto the show to talk about the newly published New Daughters of Africa this weekend. Listen from 2 hrs 48 mins.Hear the podcast
Podcast - BBC World Service: Weekend
BBC World Service: Weekend featured Margaret Busby to celebrate International Women’s Day, and also the publication day of New Daughters of Africa.
Listen from 42 minutes.Hear the podcast
Podcast - BBC World Service: Focus on Africa
BBC World Service: Focus on Africa invited Margaret Busby on to talk about New Daughters of Africa, the women whose work features within the anthology and the Margaret Busby bursary award (from 14.00-18.00).Hear the podcast
Podcast - BBC World Service: Africa Today with Margaret BusbyHear the podcast
Turnaround Book of the Month
‘New Daughters of Africa, compiled by Margaret Busby in a gargantuan editorial feat, showcases the creativity and achievements of contributors including Roxane Gay, Zadie Smith, and Diane Abbott. It is a behemoth of thought and reflection, exploring sisterhood, tradition, romance, race and identity – individually, and at large.’
New Daughters of Africa was chosen by Turnaround as Book of the Month.
The Guardian: Meet the New Daughters of Africa
‘The book reveals works in progress, identities in transition, shapeshifting sensibilities, a delicious mash-up of expectations. Who knew that Nadifa Mohamed, one of Granta’s best young British novelists in 2013, was also a fine poet? The chef Zoe Adjonyoh, from whom cookery writing might have been expected, delivers a memoir of her father that is indeed “A Beautiful Story”. Contributors are drawn to write about countries not theirs by birth: a Zimbabwean shines light on Antigua, Ghana has an impact on a writer from Trinidad.’
‘The aspirational mantra of inclusivity and diversity is increasingly routine, fashionable even, in today’s publishing industry, but lasting change has yet to be achieved. Verna Wilkins, founder of the children’s imprint Tamarind Books, explains in her essay that she began hands-on work creating books in diverse classrooms in the belief that the process must start with children: “They should see themselves as the authors, editors, designers, illustrators and publishers of the future.”’
Margaret Busby wrote an amazing article for The Guardian about New Daughters of Africa. Read it in full here.
10 Books by Brilliant Women Around the World by Red Magazine
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Red magazine chose 10 books by women authors. New Daughters of Africa was one of those spotlighted – check out the entire list here.
‘Sticking it to the patriarchy for the ninth year running, Women of the World festival returns to the shores of Southbank for a two-day celebration of all things female. This year the line-up is as stellar as ever, including conversations with Catherine Mayer and Naomi Klein as well as the launch of New Daughters of Africa, an anthology of writing by women of African descent. Plus, this year’s event marks the beginning of the WOW Foundation which aims to further the movement in global gender equality.’
It’s not just us who are absolutely thrilled about the upcoming WOW event and New Daughters of Africa launch. The event headlines on Emerald Street’s round up of London events this month.
Enter: the new daughters of Africa
New Daughters of Africa will be published this month and we couldn’t be more excited.
New Internationalist celebrates its arrival with a nine-page spread written by Margaret Busby, featuring three stories from New Daughters of Africa. From Dirt by Camillet Dungy, Home by Ketty Nivyabandi and Saying Goodbye To Mary Danquah by Nana-Ama Danquah a contributor to the anthology.
The Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa Award
The Bookseller ran a feature celebrating the new £20,000 Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa Award, created by Myriad Editions and SOAS, which will be offered to a female, black student who is ordinarily resident in Africa. The bursary will pay for the recipient’s tuition fees and accommodation costs for a SOAS Masters in African Studies, Comparative Literature or Translation in African Languages.
50 books to keep you reading all year long—The Irish Times
New Daughters of Africa featured in The Irish Times article, 50 books to keep you reading all year long.
2019 in Books: What You’ll Be Reading This Year by The Guardian
New Daughters of Africa featured as one of the books you must read in 2019. If that isn’t praise enough, we don’t know what is! Read the full line up here.
Margaret Busby featured in The Guardian
“It used to be just a few writers published mostly as part of an educational series,” explains Margaret. “Now they are in the mainstream. I think publishers can see the success they can have with someone like Chimamanda and of course they want that success too.” But it’s still not as easy as it might be. “Until you can no longer count the number of African women writers who have broken through then we’ve still got work to do.” Read the full article by Gary Younge here.