New Beacon Books, UK’s first black owned book store at Africa Writes 2018

New Beacon Books, UK’s first black owned book store at Africa Writes 2018

Founded in 1966, New Beacon Books was the UK’s first bookshop and publishing house to specialise in African and Caribbean literature. For over 50 years New Beacon Books has stood proud in the heart of Finsbury Park, North London. John La Rose’ founder, visionary, political activist and poet wanted to create a place that celebrated authors of colour at a time in Britain where ethnic diversity wasn’t common place. Since it’s inception in 1966 many people have travelled from all over the world to visit New Beacon and meet & reason with John La Rose. Since his death in 2006 the bookshop has continued to trade but had been hit hard with the pressures of big online retailers like Amazon.

In addition to selling African, African American, Black British, Caribbean fiction and non-fiction and children’s books, the bookshop has a long tradition of community support and activism and has been at the centre of many Black political movements in the UK, most notably The New Cross Massacre.

Following a threat of closure in 2016, a successful crowd fund and social media campaign was launched with the younger generation of the La Rose family at the helm.
Since then New Beacon has undergone complete modernisation and is ready to be here for another 50 years.

We are delighted to welcome back New Beacon Books to Africa Writes as the official book seller for 2018. We caught up with Vanessa La Rose recently to find out what New Beacon Books have been up to recently:

“Its been a busy year for us; we’ve partnered with some amazing people and have lots of things lined up this year, especially around the 70th anniversary of the Windrush.  We’re extremely honoured to be the official booksellers for the second year running at Africa Writes. It’s such an important event in the literary world and we know this year will be amazing.”

Join us for Africa Writes 29 June – 1 July at the British Library for the great programme of events and to browse the book fair, where you’ll find New Beacon Books and numerous other brilliant publishers of literature from Africa and the diaspora.


– Rali Chorbadzhiyska, April 2018