African Caribbean Bookshop

In 1996, Nana established Manchester’s first African Caribbean specialist book service at the West Indian Centre, Carmoor Road.   Nana was not afraid to put his money where his mouth was and the establishment of this specialist bookshop was a formidable gift on his part. Through this bookshop, he helped many people to begin exploring areas of African people’s history and culture, that were once beyond their reach.

bookshopaddHe wanted to use every avenue to educate the black community about themselves, especially through published works written by black people. He tried to provide this education through books, audio and video formats. The time he spent in finding a range of authors for both adults and children, tells us he was not using this venture for personal gain.

In Manchester, this bookshop opened its doors to generate a greater level of interest in books written by some of the world’s leading African authors and scholars.

The shop operated a mobile service throughout the North West of England. He was keen on ensuring that the supply of published books and works was accessible to the wider community, especially where African Caribbean people were hosting events. Further, he invited school teachers in Manchester from many schools to visit Carmoor Road, to look at the stock for relevant titles for their classrooms.

No customer would go unnoticed; he had a unique touch. He could give a swift lecture on any subject from his titles. It could be about the author or the work itself and funnily enough he had a way of telling the customer what he believed the publication could do for developing their mind.

Many people came to know him through his book trade. “Berry Edwards! You mean that man who sells the black books at Carmoor Road, at my University, and everywhere black people were having their functions!” ( – Anonymous).

One Comment

  1. David Ssembajjo

    I am an African writer and I have written five books. My recent book MR BATWALA’S FARM was published in May. I would kindly request you to stock it.

    Herewith a brief synopsis:

    Mr Batwala is a freed slave. He returns to Africa and sets up a coffee farm. He decides to employ local workers. He discovers that the workers are only interested in higher wages and they only want to enrich themselves. When the workers find out that they are to receive lower wages they decide to leave the farm in droves. The workers had anticipated higher wages and they thought that their individual dreams would come true and their dreams never come true. Mr Batwala was there to help and assist others in his community. He was not exploitative and never was he self seeking. He believed in the purpose of community spirit and development. He was providing where society had failed to deliver and the society he was willing to help betrayed him. He was confident that he would succeed in uniting his community in solidarity for worker’s rights. He would lay down his life for others to excel. Mr Batwala needed the co-existence of his workers in order the coffee farm to function. One thing the workers and Mr Batwala had in common was the inability for them to determine the prices of coffee. The workers voted with their feet because they were unable to set up the coffee prices. Mr Batwala was left to labour alone and he deposited the farm in Nalukuli’s custody and she was left to look after the farm and she was bitter with Mr Batwala’s extravagance that was failing them and she was the pillar of the household. She never abandoned Mr Batwala in his hour of need. She cared for him and the children and never deserted him. She loved him in his hour of need. She never condemned him but stood up for his convictions.

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