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
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
The Man Watching Our House – For Books’ Sake
‘She sliced through the sharp smell of kerosene hanging over our heads and transported us back home to Meru, to a green, wet morning, pregnant with the medicinal smell of the Eucalyptus trees.’
‘The Man Watching Our House by Makena Onjerika, one of the short stories in New Daughters of Africa, was featured on For Books’ Sake this week, read in full now.
Makena Onjerika won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2018. She teaches writing at the Nairobi Fiction Writing Workshop and is currently working on a fantasy novel and a short story collection around the lives of girls and women in Nairobi.
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.