Margaret Busby CBE has been awarded a Degree of Doctor of Literature, for her achievements as an acclaimed publisher, broadcaster, playwright and critic. Margaret is also an alumna of Bedford College, University of London - one of Royal Holloway’s founding colleges.
Margaret Busby CBE
Honorary Degrees of the University of London are conferred who are outstanding in their field or who have given exceptional service to the university.
Margaret Busby was born in Ghana and educated in Britain, graduating from Bedford College. She was Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher when in the 1960s she co-founded the publishing house ‘Allison and Busby’, of which she was Editorial Director for 20 years, overseeing an international list of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
The conferral was held at the university’s campus in Egham, Surrey, during a meeting with Principal, Professor Paul Layzell. Margaret Busby’s oration was given by Professor Lavinia Greenlaw, Professor of Creative Writing in the Department of English at Royal Holloway.
Margaret was Editorial Director of Earthscan Publications, before pursuing a freelance career as writer, editor, critic and broadcaster. She compiled the pioneering Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent (1992) and its 2019 follow-up New Daughters of Africa.
Speaking about receiving her honorary degree from Royal Holloway, Margaret said, “I am really excited to have received an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Royal Holloway. It’s particularly special to me as I myself graduated from Bedford College.
“I am pleased that my work has inspired students and the wider university and I hope that it continues to do so.”
Margaret has worked continuously for diversity within the publishing industry and is a frequent participant in literary festivals and conferences internationally, has served on the boards of a variety of cultural organisations, and has judged many prestigious awards, including the Booker Prize 2020 and the British Book Awards 2021.
Recognition for Margaret’s work includes Honorary Fellowship of Queen Mary, University of London, the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, honorary degrees from the Open University and the SOAS, and the inaugural Africa Writes Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal African Society. Margaret was recently recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to publishing.