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Kadija George Sesay FRSA, Hon FRSL, has worked book and periodical publishing for several years. She published SABLE LitMag for 15 years until 2015. She is the Publications Manager for Inscribe, the Black British writer development programme at 23 Peepal Tree Press which has published a series of poetry and fiction anthologies with editors, Kwame Dawes, Jacob Ross and Nii Ayikwei Parkes. Glimpse, the first anthology of Black British speculative fiction, edited by Leone Ross, if forthcoming. Kadija co-convened ‘Narrating the Caribbean Nation,’ the first Peepal Tree conference, in 2012. She is the co-author of This is the Canon: Decolonise Your Bookshelf in 50 Books. Kadija was awarded her doctoral thesis at Brighton University researching Black British Publishers and Pan-Africanism. She was a Kluge Research Fellow at the Library of Congress in 2019. She is the creator of AfroPoeTree, to be launched in Spring 2022.

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Publishing in the Caribbean


Black British Publishers: Publishing for Social Justice

Independent Black book publishers, New Beacon Books and Bogle L’Ouverture were started by John La Rose (1966) and Jessica and Eric Huntley (1969) respectively. As individuals, they arrived from the Caribbean with Marxist leanings, therefore their focus was on building and strengthening Black communities to educate and sustain themselves. Their activities could broadly be divided into three sections, publishing (of books, magazines and booklets/pamphlets), activist work for ‘social justice’ for the home community and campaigning ‘social justice’ international work for Africans on the continent and in the diaspora. Social justice was an integral aspect of their work as publishers. Racism experienced by the community in Britain led them to establish groups and publish material to support and encourage community groups to be autonomous and to campaign for their rights and against injustice. The act of publishing was itself a radical act as by so doing so, it not only debunked the myth that Black people “do not read” but they published texts with anti – colonial and Pan-African perspectives that challenged the morals and ethics of empires. Mainstream publishers deemed such material as risky content. Their radicalism was due not only to what they published, but how, and by the fact that they dared to conceive of publishing at all.

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