Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2015 Contents A31
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remains a passionate advocate for enabling new and
different voices to be heard.
A good example of this is the 1992 book she edited:
Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of
Words and Writing by Women of African Descent,
which the Washington Post Book World described as
"a magnificent starting place for any reader interested
in becoming part of the collective enterprise of dis-
covering and uncovering the silent, forgotten and
underrated voices of black women."
Why does Busby think diverse voices and stories
"Because otherwise we re not tapping into the rich-
ness of information, of point of view, everything that
makes life interesting. So that you don t only get one
perspective all the time, with everything filtered through
the usual gatekeepers---we know who they are, whether
in London, New York or wherever... Other voices need
to get a look-in, not just those that already have the
"I m always keen to encourage people to become
involved with the publishing industry because I hear
people say I want to be a writer, but not many say:
I want to be a publisher. Yet you can t get to a wide
audience as a writer without a publisher. One of the
things the Bocas Lit Fest is trying to do that I admire
is to support or encourage publishing in the Caribbean
region," she said.
"I often point to the example of Toni Morrison,
who at the same time as being a novelist was also in
publishing. Important black writers got published
through Toni being an editor at Random House. It
doesn t have to be either/or," said Busby.
Busby mentioned her involvement as patron with
the Etisalat Prize (created by Etisalat Nigeria in 2013),
for a debut work of fiction from an African writer:
"It s a pan-African prize, coming out of Nigeria, so
it s not looking to the West for validation. That is the
sort of thing that is important, whether we re talking
about the African continent, or the diaspora, or the
Caribbean, so that more power is somehow vested in
the region from which the writer comes."
Does Busby have any favourite writers?
"It changes day by day," she said. "There are writers
I m still looking forward to reading. Writers from dif-
ferent parts of the world on different days would be
on my list of favourites. Earl Lovelace, Derek Walcott,
Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pauline
Melville.... I published Roy Heath, from Guyana. A
wonderful writer, who s not as well-known as he
"And so many new writers. I put together my anthol-
ogy Daughters of Africa almost 25 years ago. Just think
of all the writers who could be in it today, inspiring
women of African descent who have emerged, such
as Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy, Chimamanda Ngozi
Adichie. A host of younger writers. Some will be at
Bocas, including Karen Lord and Tiphanie Yanique.
NoViolet Bulawayo came to Bocas last year."
On black feminism
How does Busby feel about sometimes being labelled
a "black feminist" writer and publisher?
"I don t mind it... Clearly as a black woman stepping
out into the publishing world in Britain, I was kind
of a freak. As a woman with a male business partner,
you also have to stand your ground. So I m used to
being in that position.
"And I will encourage other women. A few have
been inspired to become publishers because of me---
and I support them. There s a very enterprising woman
called Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, an African feminist, who
started the publishing company Cassava Republic in
Nigeria. She is doing some fantastic work, and faces
immense odds, but she keeps going. If there s ever a
problem I can help her with, I will do so, as I would
with any woman who wants to start in publishing.
"Feminism is something we have to acknowledge
as necessary in the society we live in."
"Another brave publisher I d like to mention is Verna
Wilkins, who is at Bocas for the first time this year---
she founded Tamarind Books in the 1980s to address
the issue of diversity in children books."
From Page A30
Clive Allison and Margaret Busby, founders of the
Allison & Busby publishing house in 1967 in London.
PHOTOS COURTESY MARGARET BUSBY
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