The lure of postwar London: networks of people, print and organisations

Gail Low (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    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 ʼnew’ 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 publicationThe Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing
    EditorsSusheila Nasta, Mark U. Stein
    Place of PublicationCambridge
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9781108164146
    ISBN (Print)9781107195448
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Commonwealth literature
    • Cultural institutions
    • Literary networks
    • Postwar Britain
    • Publishing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)


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