Busby will take over the role from British-French author and lawyer, Philippe Sands.
By Hope Ibiale
Ghanaian-born publisher, editor, writer, publisher, and broadcaster, Margaret Busby, has been announced as the new president of English PEN. Busby will take over the role from British-French author and lawyer, Philippe Sands.
While giving his handover speech, Sands said, “It has been a privilege and an honour to serve as President of English PEN for the past five years, working with a fantastic team, and the worldwide PEN movement, part of the vital effort to protect and promote freedom of expression for all writers and readers, more important than ever in our times. I am delighted to pass the baton to editor and writer Margaret Busby, a remarkable, inspiring, and distinguished figure who has transformed literature in the UK and will surely be a fabulous President.”
On her new role in English PEN, Busby noted, “For some four decades, I have admired and supported the work of English PEN, and to be able to play a part in helping that work continue is a privilege. I am glad to be able to bring my personal experience to the cause of English PEN, having valued and recognised the power of words throughout my professional life – as a publisher, editor, and writer,” she said. “I look forward to helping enable the full potential of literature worldwide, with equality of opportunity for all. The world is volatile: freedom of speech and expression is frequently under pressure, and English PEN has been defending literary expression and raising awareness for over a century.”
Margaret Yvonne Busby, also known as Nana Akua Ackon, is a Ghanaian-born literary critic and publisher. In 1960, Margaret Busby became Britain’s youngest and first black female book publisher when she and Clive Allison founded the publishing house, Allison and Busby. In Margaret Busby’s as Allison and Busby’s editorial director, they published many notable authors like Buchi Emecheta, Sam Greenlee, Ishmael Reed, Rosa Guy, and others. Margaret Busby has won the Society of Young Publishers, Race in the Media, London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement awards, and many more.
Founded in 1921, English PEN is one of the world’s first non-governmental organisations, which is also the founding centre of PEN International, a worldwide writers’ association with 145 centres in more than 100 countries. English PEN celebrates the diversity of literature and envisions a world with free expression and equity of opportunity by supporting writers at risk and campaigning for freedom of expression nationally and internationally. English PEN also hosts events and prizes to champion international literature, showcase the diversity of writing, and celebrate literary courage.