Bedford College alumna Margaret Busby (BA English 1965), Britain’s youngest and first black woman publisher, and Myriad Editions have teamed up with The Black Curriculum to donate 500 copies of New Daughters of Africa to schools across the UK.
Busby's New Daughters of Africa showcases the work of more than 200 women writers of African descent from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate their contributions to literature and international culture.
Launched at the Royal Festival Hall and celebrated at Somerset House and literary festivals from Hay and Edinburgh to Cape Town and Trinidad, it was published to international acclaim last year and is widely regarded as a landmark anthology that brings the tradition of black women writers to the fore.
Among the contributors are the 200 contributors are: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Patience Agbabi, Malorie Blackman, Bernardine Evaristo, Aminatta Forna, Andrea Levy, Nawal El Saadawi, Taiye Selasi, Warsan Shire, Zadie Smith and Andrea Stuart.
The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise based in London. It was founded in 2019 by SOAS graduate Lavinya Stennett to address the lack of black British history taught in schools and campaigns for black British histories to be taught across the curriculum, from reception through to A Levels. Stennett and her team train teachers and deliver workshops to provide a sense of belonging, identity and understanding to children and young adults around the UK. Their aim is to make black histories mandatory on examination boards so academies, private schools and other educational institutions are obliged to teach it.
Stennett explains: ‘Black British history is not merely a theme for October. It started hundreds of years before Windrush and pre-dates European colonial enslavement. Our work aims to provide a contextual, globalised history 365 days a year and roots the black British experience in histories of movement and migration. We want to help prepare students to become fully rounded citizens and ready for an increasingly globalised world. Our curriculum is grounded in the arts for young people to engage with history imaginatively – including through fiction, drama, poetry and memoir – to encourage student satisfaction and critical thinking skills. Through this holistic approach we aim to remedy the wider issue of systemic racism.’
Candida Lacey, publishing director of Myriad, adds: ‘Margaret Busby’s aim in publishing New Daughters of Africa was always to make a real difference. Thanks to the contributors who waived their fees and her own generosity, this September an African student will take up a free place to study at SOAS University of London. With almost perfect symmetry, Lavinya Stennett, a SOAS graduate herself, has offered us this new opportunity to make a difference and we are delighted to support the work of The Black Curriculum. It feels more urgent now than ever to improve the way we educate our children and young adults and to share with them the richness, range and diversity of African women’s voices and across a wealth of genres.’
New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent edited by Margaret Busby was published in hardback in March 2019. The paperback edition will be available in September 2020.