The UK's First Black Bookshop Is At Risk Of Closure

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 28 months ago

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The UK's First Black Bookshop Is At Risk Of Closure

A crowdfunding campaign to save New Beacon Books in Finsbury Park from closure has been launched.

The independent bookshop and publishing company, recognised as the UK's first Black bookshop and specialising in African and Caribbean literature, faces closure due to a decrease in footfall since the pandemic began, and increased competition from online retailers. Without support, the physical shop would close and the company would move entirely online.

New Beacon Books was established in 1966 as as the UK’s first Black publisher, specialist bookshop and international book distributor, and has been operating continuously for 55 years. It sells poetry, literature, non-fiction, history and children’s books from Africa, Caribbean, Asia, African America, Europe, South America and Black Britain to British audiences.

The shop's plight came to light shortly after Christmas when poet and actor Francesca Gilbert tweeted about the shop's imminent closure. After seeing how much support there was for the shop, she worked with New Beacon Books' directors, Michael La Rose, Janice Durham and Professor Gus John to launch the crowdfunder in a bid to save it.

The crowdfunding campaign has a target of raising £35,000 by 24 February 2022. If successful, it will save the shop from immediate closure. Additionally, the money raised will go towards establishing a New Beacon Development Fund and setting up a committee to plan events.

There is the possibility of the company acquiring larger alternative premises, which would encompass publishing, bookselling, public programmes and events, as well as hosting writers in residence, all under one roof. This would allow New Beacon Books to diversify its income streams, hopefully making it more resilient against future financial threats.

Find out more and donate to the crowdfunding campaign Save New Beacon Bookshop here.

Last Updated 30 December 2021

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