The Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa Award

A project by: SOAS University of London

pledged of £25,000 target
Support the next generation of African female writers & create a lasting legacy

Margaret Busby CBE is a Ghanaian-born publisher, editor, writer and broadcaster who became Britain’s first black, female publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby in the 1960s. 30 years ago, Margaret published her landmark literary anthology Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent from the Ancient Egyptian to the Present, leaving the literary landscape forever changed.

Its 2019 follow-up, New Daughters of Africa, celebrates the work of 200 women writers of African descent. To commemorate its launch, and to keep building on this legacy, Margaret was inspired to set up the New Daughters of Africa Award at SOAS as a tributary to the pool from which more New Daughters can emerge.

The Award supports a black African woman studying MA African Studies, MA Comparative Literature or MA Translation (in African Languages). The award is for a student with a particular interest in African Literature, aiming to support a new generation of African female writers.

Since the Award was launched in 2020, we have had an amazing response from so many generous supporters, including the 200 contributors to the literary anthology who all donated their fees.

This enabled us to provide a full scholarship to Idza Luhumyo (MA, Comparative Literature, 2021). Idza came to SOAS from Nairobi and describes her time at SOAS as life-changing. Her MA culminated in her winning the Short Story Day Africa Prize 2021. Her story Five Years Next Sunday was published as part of the anthology Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa in September 2021.

In July 2022, Idza went on to win the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing.

Idza’s award was funded entirely through donations. Without it, these incredible successes might not have been accessible for her. Now, thanks to the generosity of many supporters, there will be a second awardee starting at SOAS in September this year.

This is our third crowdfunding campaign for the New Daughters of Africa Award, aiming to ensure that another writer can follow in Idza’s footsteps and realise their potential at SOAS from next year.

To make this happen, we need your support.

We need to raise £25,000 by the end of 2022 so that we can advertise the next scholarship in time.

Please give what you can to our campaign. Gifts of any size are so important and gratefully received.

Please share this campaign widely among your family, friends and colleagues.

Together we can bring another talented writer to flourish at SOAS.

"Until you can no longer count the number of African women writers who have broken through then we’ve still got work to do," - Dr Margaret Busby, CBE

Thank you for your support.

Idza Luhumyo & Margaret Busby at the Caine Prize Dinner, 2022

Idza Luhumyo’s reflections on her MA in Comparative Literature at SOAS, 2020-21

I was keen on taking my career to the next level. I was just venturing out on a career in cultural work and somehow understood that in an increasingly connected world, an MA degree in Comparative Literature would be something worth pursuing. This degree would not only allow me to build on my interdisciplinary background, but allow me to think deeply and critically about the function of stories, and culture, in the world.

Studying at SOAS has been nothing short of a wonderful experience. Even with the constraints brought about by the pandemic, I was able to take advantage of the resources the institution offers. In particular, I remain in awe of the SOAS Library collection and know that I will always remember it fondly. I was also excited to be able to choose the modules that I was most interested in and, in that way, build on my interests while also addressing my knowledge gaps. In addition, because SOAS is an institution that attracts students from all over the world, meeting my classmates and listening to their diverse worldviews has been an enriching experience.

As I wrap up my programme, I am looking forward to the next stage in my career. I am interested in obtaining even more qualifications, particularly as I zero in on my primary form of expression: literature. That I feel confident to continue down this path is in part thanks to the Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa Award. I will always remain thankful and grateful for what has been nothing short of a life-changing opportunity.