The idea for SABLE LitMag was conceived by Kadija George after she left the Centerprise Literature Development Project as their Black Literature Development co-ordinator, where she had set up the broadsheet paper Calabash in 1998.
The SABLE LitMag spark grew from various ideas and from the writers that she worked with who needed a space for developing writers to publish a body of work. A feature on Rita Dove published by the Washington Post in 1999, explains the difficulties that she herself faced in getting her work published in Britain (even though she had published work in the USA and Africa). Writers of African descent in Britain needed a quality publication that would publish a variety of genres; a publication that said, writers of African descent in Britain would not be confined to the margins of the established literary world who considered them not good enough to be published.
Kadija also started the Writers Hotspot trips in 1996. The first one of these to The Gambia. After the fifth Writer’s HotSpot to Cuba in 2001 an important yet significant change took place. SABLE LitMag became a litmag for writers of ‘colour’ rather than a litmag for writers of African descent only. With the diversity of ethnicities in cities like Havana, and London, it was clear that not opening the magazine to people of colour globally, would be limiting – after all, people of African descent live and work in the world of a broad diversity of literature, and Black people in the diaspora can be found on every continent, speaking every conceivable language.
The name SABLE was chosen to reflect the colour of the diversity of the people – a mixture of blacks and browns, reflecting the various shades of people of colour. It is a name that equally carries the same meaning in English, French and Spanish.