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Women's History Month: We celebrate Margaret Busby OBE


SOON AFTER graduating from London University Margaret Busby OBE became the UK’s youngest and first black woman publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby Ltd in 1967 of which she was editorial director for 20 years.

Busby published the works of several major authors including C.L.R. James, Buchi Emecheta, Sam Greenlee, Chester Himes, John Edgar Wideman and Rosa Guy. Busby was subsequently Editorial Director of publishing company Earthscan publishing works by authors such as Frantz Fanon and Han Suyin before pursuing a career as a freelance editor and writer.

As a journalist, she has written for such leading publications as The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times and the New Statesman.

As an author she compiled the groundbreaking book Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent. Busby has also contributed to other books including 2014’s Carnival: A Photographic and Testimonial History of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Her abridgements and dramatisations for BBC Radio include works by C.L.R. James, Wole Soyinka, Walter Mosley and Sam Selvon.

Busby’s BBC Radio play based on C. L. R. James's novel Minty Alley won a Commission for Racial Equality Race in the Media Award in 1999.

Among the plays she has written for the stage are Sankofa (1999), Yaa Asantewaa – Warrior Queen in 2001, which ran for two years and An African Cargo in 2007.

Busby has also been a leading campaigner for greater diversity in the publishing industry and in the 1980s was a founding member of the organisation Greater Access to Publishing (GAP) which launched a number of campaigns to increase the number of people from black and minority ethnic communities working in publishing.

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