50th Anniversary Celebrations
New Beacon Books celebrates its 50th anniversary starting this autumn through a series of exciting eventsorganised by the George Padmore Institute to mark its pioneering achievemnets.
Never solely a bookshop, NBB has been at the centre of numerous significant campaigns, organisations, political and social projects including The Caribbean Artists Movements (1966-72), the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (1982-95), the New Cross Massacre Action Committee (1981) and the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya (1980s).
New Beacon's ethos has always been concerned with connecting different generations of African, Asian, Caribbean and diasporic minority ethnic populations through the sharing of BAME history. This has primarily been achieved over many years via independent grassroots organisations and the building of strong foundations by way of committed networks.
A major part of the 50th anniversary celebrations is the appointment of Jay Bernard as Poet in Residence for three months at the GPI. Bernard will produce a series of poems refelcting the institute's unique archives (including the recently catalogued personal papers of John La Rose, founder of New Beacon Books. The GPI's Poet in Residence will then lead a stellar night of poetry December 3rd. The International Poetry Night is to be compered by internationally acclaimed poet and GPI Trustee Linton Kwesi Johnson. Renowned activist and educator Professor Gus John is due to deliver a keynote speech on the work and legacy of New Beacon Books on the afternoon of December 3rd. There will be other live events preceding the double bill in December.
Sarah White, Director of New Beacon Books has said:"While New Beacon's achievements deserve to be recognised and celebrated, both the GPI and NBB are very well aware that the world of books and publishing have changed enormously since 1966 and it is unrealistic to continue operating in the smae old way. In 2017 New Beacon will be undertaking a reorganisation so its traditions and vision can continue into the future though not necessarily within the same structures."
Aided by an Arts Council England grant, the 50th anniversary celebrations observe the end of a crucial and culturally significant chapter in Black British history and the start of an exciting new era.