AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4462/M
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1982-2002
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.58 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications Ltd | specialists in books from and about the Caribbean, Africa, Afro-America and Asia
International Bookfair of Radical Black and Third World Books


Administrative/Biographical history:

Between 1982 and 1995, Book Fairs were held; ten annually from 1982 to 1991 and two biannually in 1993 and 1995. They were organised through the alliance of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications, New Beacon Books and Race Today Publications. The grouping became known as 'The Alliance'. They described the Fairs as, 'A meeting of the continents for writers, publishers, distributors, booksellers, artists, musicians, film makers, and the people who inspire and consume their creative productions.' Over six thousand people attended the first one.

The first three Fairs took place in the areas of London where each organisation was based; Islington, Lambeth and Acton. The Camden Centre, Islington LB, became the permanent home of the Fairs thereafter. Events were organised in Manchester, Bradford and Leeds from 1985 and in 1993 and 1995 Glasgow was added to these locations. In 1987 and 1988 a sister event was held in Trinidad by the Trinidad Oilfields Workers Trade Union. This was called 'The Caribbean Peoples International Bookfair and Bookfair Festival'. The fair took place over three days but additional events were organised throughout 'The International Book Fair Festival Week'.

John La Rose of New Beacon Books and Jessica Huntley of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications were joint Directors of the first four, until 1984. Committee members for the first were Eric Huntley, Sarah White, Steve Lewis, Darcus Howe, Lelia Hassan, Lorine Stapleton and Irma La Rose. John La Rose became the sole director in 1985. Bogle-L'Ouverture continued to be involved as an organiser until the 8th Fair in 1989.

The Fairs brought together publishers, political activists and artists from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, North America and Europe to a forum where ideas were exchanged and work was show cased. Literature, politics, music, art, and social life were all an intrinsic part of the Fairs. The Programmes included plays, film screenings, prose and poetry readings, debates and musical concerts. Audiences of five hundred or more attended many of the events.

First: 1-3 April 1982. Islington Town Hall, Islington
Second: 17-19 March 1983. Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, Lambeth
Third: 5-7 April 1984. Acton Town Hall, Acton
Fourth: 21-23 March 1985. The Camden Centre, London; Manchester Book Exhibition and Festival: 7-10 March; Bradford Book Exhibition and Festival: 28-31 March
Fifth: 6-8 March 1986. The Camden Centre, Islington
Sixth: 26-28 March 1987. The Camden Centre, Islington
Seventh: 17-19 March 1988. The Camden Centre, Islington
Eighth: 9-11 March 1989. The Camden Centre, Islington; Manchester: 2nd-4 March; Bradford: 16-18 March
Ninth: 22-24 March 1990. The Camden Centre, London; Bradford Book Fair: 28-30 March 1990. Bradford Community Centre; Manchester Book Fair: 17 March 1990. Manchester Town Hall
Tenth: 7-9 March 1991. Camden Centre, London; Manchester: 1 March. Manchester Town Hall; Bradford: 14-16 March. Bradford Community Arts Centre
Eleventh: 25-27 March 1993. The Camden Centre, London. Leeds and Bradford: 19-21 March; The First Scottish Book Fair: 1-3 April. Glasgow
Twelfth: 23-25 March, 1995 at the Camden Centre, London; Leeds and Bradford: 16-19 March. West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds; Manchester: 10-12 March at the Nia Centre, Manchester; The 2nd Scottish Book Fair: 30 March-1 April at Patrick Burgh Hall, Glasgow.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to the International Bookfair of Radical Black and Third World Books, including original programmes, stationery, correspondence and notes from members of The Alliance and from artists and those who attended the conferences. Also listings of families and individuals who provided accommodation for artists and rotas for the staffing of the Fairs.

The programmes are an excellent resource for information about the social and political issues that were of concern to Black people living in London in the 1980s and 1990s. They show the international links and connections between individuals of different artistic disciplines.

The development of the organisation and it's influence on diverse groups in the community are well documented in the correspondence and minutes; LMA/4462/M/01 and 02.

The photographs are both formal and informal. They show the Fair in action and special guests and artists performing or speaking at the different events. One album was put together by a participant as a gift to the Huntleys.

The press cuttings give valuable information on how the Fairs were being received by the Black community and others in London and internationally. There is an exclusive interview with Sonia Sanchez and an article by Margaret Busby which gives an historical overview of the Fair.

The copyright to these records rests with the depositors, Race Today Publications and New Beacon Books. Permission for the use of images for publication must be sought from all three organisations.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

This collection is arranged into six series:
LMA/4462/M/01 MINUTES;

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Their archive collections were the first deposit from the African-Caribbean community to be made to the London Metropolitan Archives, in 2005, with additional deposits since that time.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For archives of New Beacon Books, one of the joint organisers, which include extensive holdings for all the Fairs especially the later ones, please see The George Padmore Institute,76 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, London N4 3EN. The Institute was established by New Beacon Books.

The book A Meeting of Continents: The International Book Fair of Radical Black & 3rd World Books Revisited, published by the George Padmore Institute contains copies of all the Book Fair programmes. (Edited by Sarah White, Roxy Harris and Sharmilla Beezmohun). See LMA library number 20.171 WHI.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
November 2009 to February 2010

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"