New Beacon Books: the early history

Founded in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, New Beacon Books emerged from a swell of radical ideas and actions. It became a bookshop, an international book service and a community hub, as well as the first independent publisher for Caribbean and Black interest fiction and non-fiction in the UK.

Sarah White and John La Rose (La Rose family archives)

This web resource sets out New Beacon’s publishing achievements during its first ten years using material from the recently catalogued archive of its founder, John La Rose. These archives are held at New Beacon’s sister organisation, the George Padmore Institute. The aim is to trace New Beacon’s history in relation to the emergence of an independent radical black publishing space in Britain in the late 1960s and 1970s.

The text and images sketch the background against which New Beacon arrived on the British and Caribbean publishing scene, indicating material from the archive which may spark further research. We will consider both what was published and what was not published in New Beacon’s eclectic catalogue of poetry, non-fiction, reprinted classics, short histories and critical writing.

Detailed information about individual publications can be found here -