New Beacon Books

New Beacon Books is a British publishing house, bookshop, and international book service that specializes in Black British, Caribbean, African, African-American and Asian literature.[1][2][3] Founded in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, it was the first Caribbean publishing house in England.[4][5] New Beacon Books is widely recognized as having played an important role in the Caribbean Artists Movement, and in Black British culture more generally.[6][2] The associated George Padmore Institute (GPI) is located in the same building where the bookshop resides at 76 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, London.

New Beacon Books
New Beacon Books Logo.jpg
StatusOpen Tuesday -Saturday 11am - 6pm (Thursday 11am - 8pm)
Founded1966; 55 years ago (1966)
FoundersJohn La Rose (1927–2006), Sarah White
Country of originUK
Headquarters locationStroud Green Road
London, N4
United Kingdom
Nonfiction topicsBlack culture; Black British, Caribbean, African, African-American and Asian literature
Official website


New Beacon Books started out as a publishing house that was run out of the Hornsey, North London, flat of John La Rose and Sarah White.[4][3] It was named after the Trinidadian journal The Beacon, which was published between 1931 and 1932.[2][7] In 1967, La Rose and White moved New Beacon Books to new premises, in Finsbury Park, where the company also began to function as a specialist bookstore.[2] Early publications included Foundations by John La Rose (1966), Tradition, the Writer and Society: Critical Essays by Wilson Harris (1967), and a new edition of John Jacob Thomas's 1889 study, Froudacity (1969).[8][7]

Other notable works published by New Beacon Books include: Edward Kamau Brathwaite, History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in the Anglophone Caribbean (1984); Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home (1980) and Myal (1988) by Erna Brodber; Martin Carter, Poems of Succession (1977); Bernard Coard's How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Sub-normal in the British School System (1971); Lorna Goodison, I am Becoming my Mother (1986); Mervyn Morris, The Pond (1973) and Shadowboxing (1979); and Andrew Salkey, A Quality of Violence (1978).

The 50th anniversary of New Beacon was celebrated with a series of events held during the latter part of 2016,[9] including an International Poetry Night on 3 December internationally acclaimed poet and GPI Trustee Linton Kwesi Johnson at the British Library.[10]

In late 2016, the directors of the bookshop decided to close it down on the grounds that it was no longer economically viable. A particular problem was that it lacked a functional website, and was losing its specialist niche to online booksellers. The physical setup had not essentially changed since the 1980s. It closed in February 2017.[11]

However, a volunteer New Beacon Development Group swiftly reopened the shop with reduced hours and set about gathering support. Crowdfunding raised £11,248, which helped the shop to undertake a major refurbishment and create a website, permitting online browsing and shopping. The renovations were completed in August 2017 and normal hours were reestablished.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Donnell 2002, p. 299.
  2. ^ a b c d Phillips 2011.
  3. ^ a b Sankar 1996.
  4. ^ a b Alleyne 2002, p. 41.
  5. ^ Johnson 2006.
  6. ^ Walmsley 1992, pp. 90–91.
  7. ^ a b Alleyne 2002, p. 42.
  8. ^ Walmsley 1992, p. 90.
  9. ^ Palmer, Carl (15 August 2016), "UK's First Black Publisher And Bookshop Celebrates 50th Year", The Voice.
  10. ^ "Beacon of hope: The tiny bookshop that gave a big voice to black writers", BBC – Arts, 6 December 2016.
  11. ^ "New Beacon Books: About Us". New Beacon Books. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  12. ^ Gelder, Sam (8 August 2017). "Finsbury Park's New Beacon Books set to begin new chapter this weekend". Islington Gazette. Retrieved 30 November 2019.


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°34′05″N 0°06′35″W / 51.5680°N 0.1096°W / 51.5680; -0.1096