Radical Bookshops, Philip Hensher

Philip Hensher's novel The Emperor Waltz draws together stories about a man who founds the first gay bookshop in London, a young painter who joins the Bauhaus and a woman fascinated by a Roman cult. He joins Matthew Sweet in the Free Thinking studio. Radical bookshops are also discussed by the poets Linton Kwesi Johnson and Anthony Joseph and the co-founder of New Beacon Sarah White.

New Generation Thinker Daisy Hay looks at the Victorian practice of keeping hair as a personal memento.

The Sheffield documentary festival has just premiered a film called "Peter De Rome Grandfather of Gay Porn - Matthew Sweet has been to meet him.

John La Rose's New Beacon project was the focal point of a black radical publishing industry that emerged in the UK in the late sixties. Its aim was to give a platform and voice to a post-independence generation of Caribbean writers whilst nurturing homegrown work by Britain's growing black population. As the Black Cultural Archives settles into its own home in Brixton and The George Padmore Institute makes New Beacon's archive available, Matthew Sweet asks if this period is now consigned to history or are such small, vibrant, personality led spaces as important as ever for diversity and the enrichment of the literary voice?

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Tue 17 Jun 2014 22:00

New Beacon Books

New Beacon Books

George Padmore Institute has published online Dr. Ruth Bush’s research into New Beacon Books which can be viewed here: New Beacon Books - the pioneering years

Image above: Book launch for The Poetry of Nicolas Guillen in the New Beacon Bookshop, March 1976. © Julian Stapleton (New Beacon archives. 

You can find out more about Anthony Joseph on his official website.

You can find out more about Linton Kwesi Johnson on his official website


Images: Left: Anthony Joseph  © Anthony Joseph / Bonuggy.  Right: Linton Kwesi Johnson recording A Caribbean Evening for BBC Radio 3 © BBC.  

Philip Hensher

Philip Hensher

The Emperor Waltz by Philip Hensher is available in hardback and ebook from the 3 July 2014. 

Photo: © Eamonn McCabe 

New Generation Thinkers 2014

New Generation Thinkers 2014

Daisy Hay of the University of Exeter is one of this year's New Generation Thinkers. She is writing a biography of Benjamin and Mary Anne Disraeli and her current research focuses on Disraeli as one of the last Romantics.  


Full list of New Generation Thinkers 2014

Hear all the columns from the 2014 Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers

Photo: © Steven G Haywood.

Peter de Rome

Peter de Rome

Peter de Rome: Grandfather of Gay Porn premiered at the Sheffield documentary festival this month. 


Role Contributor
PresenterMatthew Sweet
Interviewed GuestPhilip Hensher
Interviewed GuestDaisy Hay
Interviewed GuestLinton Kwesi Johnson
Interviewed GuestAnthony Joseph
Interviewed GuestSarah White
Interviewed GuestPeter de Rome
ProducerJacqueline Smith

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