Brandes honoured as 'influential black Briton' for second year

Brandes honoured as 'influential black Briton' for second year

Jacaranda Books founder Valerie Brandes has been named one of the 100 most influential black Britons for the second year in a row.

This is the second consecutive year that Brandes has made the Powerlist, being recognised for her "continued dedication to diverse publishing, equality and entrepreneurism”, a Jacaraonda spokesperson said. Amongst her achievements, she was praised for the Twenty in 2020 initiative, which will see Jacaranda Books publish 20 Black British writers in 2020, working in partnership with Words of Colour Productions, founded by Joy Francis. 

Since founding the London Bridge-based company, Jacaranda, in 2014 to bring more diversity to the market, Jacaranda has published various authors such as Irenosen Okojie, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, and Bernice L McFadden.

She has also served on committees such as Fiction Uncovered, and has given talks across the UK on publishing, inclusivity and female entrepreneurship.

Brandes said: "I am proud to be on the Powerlist for a second year for something as important as celebrating Black British writing. I am excited for the future of Jacaranda books going forward and for our brilliant Twenty in 2020 initiative working with Joy Francis and the Words of Colour team. This is one of the ultimate marks of approval for the work we continue to do in driving diversity and inclusivity in this industry through hard work, passion and creativity.”

The Powerlist was established to highlight the achievements of black Britons across a range of industries with other names including Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race author Reni Eddo-Lodge, educator and activist Akala, historian David Olusoga, and journalist and author Afua Hirsch.

It is an annual publication that was first published in 2007 in a bid to provide professional role models for young people of African and African Caribbean heritage, coordinated by Powerful Media Ltd, and judged by an independent panel.