The lure of post-war Londons: networks of people, print and organisations

Gail Low (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Partly due to their British colonial education, many writers were lured to the postwar metropolis to find publishers and a wider audience for their work. This chapter discusses the contradictory stances of the publishing industry in the 1950s and 1960s. It traces the interactions between editors, audiences, and other cultural networks that made London an international publishing capital for ‘new’ Commonwealth authors (as they were then known). It was in London that Amos Tutuola or Wilson Harris were first noticed by Faber and Faber, and Sam Selvon’s A Brighter Sun (1952) or George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin (1953) first appeared. This interest soon waned, however, as issues of race, nation, and identity began to dominate, and sharp divisions were apparent, partially due to the myopia of some publishers and the parochial reception of some critics. The chapter also points forwards to the social and political contexts which provoked the vital growth of smaller and more radical publishing houses such as New Beacon (1966) in the 1970s and 1980s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing
EditorsSusheila Nasta, Mark U. Stein
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781108164146
ISBN (Print)978117195448
Publication statusPublished - 2020



  • publishing
  • postwar Britian
  • literary networks
  • cultural institutions
  • Commonwealth literature

Cite this

Low, G. (2020). The lure of post-war Londons: networks of people, print and organisations. In S. Nasta, & M. U. Stein (Eds.), Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing (pp. 278-295). Cambridge University Press.