Date/Time Event
Wednesday, 25th July
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves Book Group: Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk

IstanbulIstanbul: Memories of a city is a shimmering evocation, by turns intimate and panoramic, of one of the world’s great cities, by its foremost writer. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2006, was born in Istanbul, in the family apartment building where his mother first held him in her arms. His portrait of his city is thus also a self-portrait, refracted by memory and the melancholy that all Istanbullus share: the sadness that comes of living amid the ruins of a lost Ottoman Empire.

Five Leaves Book Group is open. It usually meets on the last week of each month, discussing fiction and non-fiction. We’re happy that people come once in a while, we’re happy if people turn up every time. As long as they have read the book. We don’t mind where people source their books but in the lead up to meetings we offer 15% discount on book group books, whether people are planning to come or not!

Free, refreshments provided.

To book a place, simply email us at

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 4th September
7:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Surrender of Silence: a memoir of Ironfoot Jack, King of the Bohemians

Jack Rudolph Neave was a real figure,  an escape artist,  a fortune teller and raconteur, who wore an iron boot to help him walk, hence the name. He was the self-styled “King of the Bohemians” in Soho in pre- and post-war London.

“I became acquainted with gipsies [sic], with show people, with buskers, with people who entertained by performing in the city, on fair grounds and market places… and with a variety of ‘fiddles’ – that is, some dubious methods of obtaining the means of life. I became a member of their fraternity.”

His book – unpublished in his lifetime – was “the outcome of years of struggle to survive; of solving the problem of existence by various and curious methods… Most of the people I am talking about led a precarious life and obtained their livelihood from day to day… They worked to live; they did not live to work.”

Ironfoot Jack and his recently rediscovered novel will be introduced by Colin Stanley, the editor of Colin Wilson Studies.

Admission: £3.00, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

The Surrender of Silence

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 6th September
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
My Summer with Dorothy, with Clare Harvey

This summer, Clare Harvey has been reading all the books by the Nottingham writer Dorothy Whipple.

Born in 1893, Dorothy Whipple  had a happy childhood in Blackburn as part of the large family of a local architect. Her close friend George Owen having been killed in the first week of the war, for three years she worked as secretary to Henry Whipple, an educational administrator who was a widower twenty-four years her senior and whom she married in 1917. Their life was mostly spent in Nottingham; here she wrote Young Anne (1927), the first of eight extremely successful novels which include High Wages (1930), Greenbanks (1932), The Priory (1939) and Because of the Lockwoods (1949). Almost all her books were Book Society Choices or Recommendations and two of them, They Knew Mr Knight (1934) and They Were Sisters (1943), were made into films. She also wrote short stories (including The Closed Door and Other Stories and Every Good Deed and Other Stories) and two volumes of memoirs. Someone at a Distance(1953) was her final novel. Returning in her last years to Blackburn, Dorothy Whipple died there in 1966.

Her books have been re-issued as handsome grey paperbacks by Persephone, and her works are stocked by libraries and bookshops.

Clare Harvey – a professional novelist herself – will share her findings with you. A few others around the Nottingham City of Literature project have also been spending their summer with Dorothy, but whether you have read all, one or none of her novels you will be equally welcome.

Clare’s latest book of wartime fiction is The Night Raid

This event is free, refreshments are provided. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 11th September
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Easter Rising: some connections to the English midlands, with James Moran

In association with Nottingham Irish Studies Group, one of a set of three weekly lectures this season.

The Easter Rising of 1916 was the foundational event of the modern Irish state, and the centenary was recently celebrated with high-profile commemorations in Ireland.  In this talk, Jim Moran will explore some of the local connections between the English midlands and this insurrection, showing how some of the thoughts of the key figures in the rebellion derived from their links with this region.
Jim Moran is Professor of Modern English Literature and Drama at the University of Nottingham.  His books include Staging the Easter Rising and, as editor, Four Irish Rebel Plays. He has also worked on the history of the Sherwood Foresters of 1916.

Admission: £3 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 12th September
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Rojava Revolution, War and the Future of Syria's Kurds, with Thomas Schmidinger

The Kurdish territory of Rojava in Syria has become a watchword for radical democracy, communalism and gender equality. But while Western radicals continue to project their own values onto the revolution, the complexities of the situation are often overlooked or misunderstood.

Based on over 17 years of research and fieldwork, Thomas Schmidinger provides a detailed introduction to the history and political situation in Rojava. Outlining the history of the Kurds in Syria from the late Ottoman Empire until the Syrian civil war, he describes the developments in Rojava since 2011: the protests against the regime, the establishment of a Kurdish para-state, the conflicts between the parties about the administration of the Kurdish territory and how the PYD and its People’s Councils rule the territory.
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The book draws on interviews with political leaders of different parties, civil society activists, artists, fighters and religious leaders in order to paint an complex picture of the historical conflict and the contemporary situation.

Thomas Schmidinger is a Political Scientist and Cultural Anthropologist based at the University of Vienna. He is Secretary General of the Austrian Association for Kurdish studies. He is the author of Rojava (Pluto, 2018), which received the Mezlum Bagok award. He has written extensively on Kurdistan, Sudan, Kosovo, jihadism, migration and Muslim communities in Europa.

In association with the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation and Pluto Press

Admission £3, including refreshments, redeemable against any purchase. Please let us know you are coming on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 15th September - Friday, 21st September
All Day
Nottingham Peace Week

Nottingham CND is co-ordinating a Peace Week, in the mould of the Quaker Peace Week of three or four years ago ie asking sympathetic groups to organise their own events within the overall ethose. We’ll be doing… something.

Tuesday, 18th September
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
An introduction to Anne Enright, focusing on The Gathering, with Sinéad Mooney

One of three lectures with Nottingham Irish Studies Group this season

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‘But what really happened?’: Anne Enright’s The Gathering

Anne Enright is one of the most innovative and exciting writers in Ireland today. Her work, with its dark humour and wryness, is able to be hilariously funny while dealing with serious subjects. Her career to date bookends the Celtic Tiger Ireland of the 1990s and early 2000s, and her work comments directly on the cultural climate of these years, considering the relationship between past and present, between how we remember and what we forget, both individually and at the level of the nation.

Enright’s interest in giving a voice to what has been silenced and repressed by history is matched by playful experiments with form and unreliable narrative, and an unnerving honesty.  Her novel The Gathering, which won the Man Booker prize in 2007, begins with Veronica Hegarty, a Dublin housewife and very unreliable narrator, breaking the news of her brother Liam’s suicide to their mother. We follow her on her attempts to make sense of Liam’s life and death, and to try to uncover a hidden trauma –  which may or may not have happened, or which may have happened to her, rather than her brother – at the heart of the rackety Hegarty family’s life.

Sinead joined De Montfort University in 2014 as a Research Fellow and in 2016 was appointed a Senior Lecturer in English. Her research interests include Irish literature, modernism, the work of Samuel Beckett, and women’s writing, particularly Irish women’s writing of the late 19th and early 20th century, and contemporary writing. She has taught and published widely in these areas.

Admission: £3, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 25th September
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Mixed Vocations of (Fr) Gerald O'Donovan, radical priest and novelist, with Chrissie Van Mierlo

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Gerald O’Donovan, radical priest and novelist, (1871–1942) was ordained into the priesthood at Maynooth in the spring of 1895. He was a practical and political priest, who lobbied for various reforms on behalf of the poor of his parish. Less than a decade later, however, the zealous young man had thrown up his clerical duties, travelling to Dublin and then to London in order to forge a literary career. He went on to pen six novels, many of which take an aggressively anti-clerical approach.
This talk reflects upon O’Donovan’s fictional depictions of vocations of various kinds, be these religious, political or artistic. The books covered range from his 1913 autobiographical novel Father Ralph, a succès de scandale in pre-War London, to the 1921 novel Vocations, which contains a devastating portrait of Irish convent life.

Dr Chrissie Van Mierlo has taught at the Universities of Nottingham and Loughborough. She is the author of James Joyce and Catholicism: The Apostate’s Wake (Bloomsbury 2017). She works at Erewash Museum.

Admission: £3 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 27th September
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves open book group discusses Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

This event is a book group discussion – Kamila Shamsie will not be present! Five Leaves Book Group is open, you can attend one meeting or all, there is no commitment other than to have read the book in advance and be ready to discuss it.

We don’t mind where you obtain the book, but we do offer a 15% discount in the lead up to the event.

Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew.

Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. He inhabits a London worlds away from theirs. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined in this novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love?

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A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone, Home Fire compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide. This book won the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Free, refreshments provided. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 3rd October
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Islam in the River of Wisdoms, with Wendy Shaw

Professor Wendy Shaw is Professor of Islamic Art History, Freie Universiteat, Berlin

This lecture comprises part of the House of Wisdom exhibition at the Bonington Gallery running from 28 September o 28 October 

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 Modern celebrations of the 8th century library “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad often paint it as the symbol of an Islamic golden age: a shining light of the East against the dark ages of the medieval West; and a shining light of the past against the dark ages of modern associations between Islam and terror. But history is much more complex. More than a single institution, the house of wisdom was a practice of transcultural transition and layered translation, where antique philosophy rejected by Christian Rome persisted through the funnel of Sassanian Iran and informed a nascent Islam hungry for knowledge, regardless of origin. It calls on us to imagine not a golden age of Islam as distinct from its surroundings, but as part and parcel of late antique cultures whose overwhelming interest in discovering truth is all too often erased in our modern concern for authenticity.
Situating the “house of wisdom” not as a golden age of Islam but as a transcultural inheritance, this talk explores how the early Islamic state enriched its coffers of wisdom through recognising the value of knowledge regardless of nation or creed. Focusing on music, epics, and fables, it looks at practices of internalisation at the heart of early Islam that modernity has all too often forgotten.
Free, refreshments provided. Let us know you are coming on
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 9th October
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Emily Brontë, a view from the 21st century, with Claire O'Callaghan

Emily Bronte Reappraised (Paperback)

Emily Brontë’s incomparable Wuthering Heights is, for many of us, one of our most cherished novels, with the character of Heathcliff being the ultimate romantic hero. It is a work that has bewitched us for almost 200 years. But Emily herself remains an enigmatic, even mysterious figure, often painted unfairly in a negative light. In this talk Claire O’Callaghan conjures a new image of the great writer by looking at her afresh from the vantage point of the new millennium. It’s a biography with a twist, taking in the themes of her life and work – her feminism, her passion for the natural world – as well as the art she has inspired, and even the “fake news” stories about her. What we discover is that she was, a thoroughly modern woman. And now, in the 21st century, it’s time for the real Emily Brontë to please stand up.

Claire O’Callaghan lectures in English at Loughborough University. Her research focuses on Victorian literature and culture, with an emphasis on gender, sexuality, and queerness.  She is a specialist on the works of the novelist Sarah Waters but her present research is on the lives and works of the Brontës, especially Emily Brontë.

Admission: £3 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 11th October
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Leafe Press, poetry in the fall

Leafe Press was launched at a reading in Nottingham in April 2000, and has published a wide range of poetry, though our main interest at present is in innovative or experimental poetry.

Tonight’s reading comprises new and old work from Frances Presley, Martin Stannard and Andrew Taylor.

As well as pamphlets and books, Leafe publishes the online magazine Litter  (


£3, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming by emailing us at

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 25th October
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Time and Tide, with Catherine Clay

This talk reconstructs the first two decades of the twentieth century feminist magazine Time and Tide and explores the periodical’s significance for an interwar generation of British women writers and readers. Unique in establishing itself as the only female-run ‘journal of opinion’ in what press historians describe as the golden age of the weekly review, Time and Tide both challenged persistent prejudices against women’s participation in public life, and played an instrumental role in redefining women’s gender roles and identities. Drawing on extensive new archival research Catherine offers insights into the history and workings of this periodical that no one has dealt with to date, and makes a major contribution to the history of women’s writing and feminism in Britain between the wars.

Contributors to Time and Tide included  D. H. LawrenceVera BrittainWinifred HoltbyVirginia WoolfCrystal EastmanCharlotte HaldaneStorm JamesonNancy AstorMargaret BondfieldMargery Corbett-AshbyCharlotte DespardEmmeline PankhurstEleanor RathboneOlive SchreinerMargaret WinteringhamRebecca WestElizabeth RobinsRose MacaulayMary HamiltonNaomi MitchisonHelena SwanwickEllen WilkinsonEthel SmythEmma GoldmanGeorge Bernard ShawErnst TollerRobert Graves and George Orwell.

Dr Clay is Course Leader for the MRes in English Literary Research postgraduate degree programme at Nottingham Trent Univerity. She also teaches across the undergraduate curriculum, including on Gender and Sexuality.

Admission: £3, including refreshments, redeemable against any purchase

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Monday, 29th October
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves open book group discusses Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham

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This event is a book group discussion – Chris Packham will not be present! Five Leaves Book Group is open, you can attend one meeting or all, there is no commitment other than to have read the book in advance and be ready to discuss it.

We don’t mind where you obtain the book, but we do offer a 15% discount in the lead up to the event.

Every minute was magical, every single thing it did was fascinating and everything it didn’t do was equally wondrous, and to be sat there, with a Kestrel, a real live Kestrel, my own real live Kestrel on my wrist! I felt like I’d climbed through a hole in heaven’s fence.

An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham only felt at ease in the fields and woods around his suburban home.

But when he stole a young Kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love, and that would change him forever.

In his emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the 70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds’ eggs and sweaty jam jars, to his feral adventures. But pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn’t understand him.

Recent television programmes and a World Service radio programme included Chris Packham talking about his autism, a subject we return to at Five Leaves steadily in various formats.

Free, refreshments included. Please let us know you are coming on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 8th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
An evening with Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is best-known for his children’s books, but came here a year or two back to talk about Emile Zola.

Tonight he will be talking about his own early years – growing up in a Jewish Communist family in London. He’ll be reading from his memoir So They Call You Pisher!Image result for michael rosen


Michael recalls the first twenty-three years of his life. Born in the North London suburbs, his parents, Harold and Connie, both teachers, first met as teenage Communists in the 1930s Jewish East End. The family home was filled with stories of relatives in London, the United States and France and of those who had disappeared in Europe. Unlike the children around them, Rosen and his brother Brian grew up dreaming of a socialist revolution. Party meetings were held in the front room, summers were for communist camping holidays, till it all changed after a trip to East Germany, when in 1957 his parents decided to leave “the Party.” Michael followed his own journey of radical self-discovery: running away to march against the bomb at Aldermaston, writing and performing in experimental political theatre and getting arrested during the 1968 movement.

He will also be discussing his Workers’ Tales - his research into published socialist fairytales of the 19th and 20th century in Britain Reading and Rebellion, radical writing for children in the first half of the twentieth century. Productive, that Michael Rosen!

This event is for adults really.

Tickets: £5 (£4 concessions) from Five Leaves Bookshop – please buy in advance

Venue: Nottingham Mechanics Institute, Nottingham
Tuesday, 13th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Now You See Me: Lesbian Life Stories with Jane Traies


NowYouSeeMe Jacket

Now You See Me is a collection of powerful personal accounts which bring to light previously undocumented lesbian lives. Jane Traies has been recording the life histories of older women who identify as lesbian for nearly a decade and the narratives in Now You See Me are drawn from this archive of ‘hidden histories’. The stories are told in the women’s own words and vividly recreate a time when being lesbian meant either hiding your true identity or paying the price for breaking society’s rules. The personal is still political in this moving and inspiring book.

‘A pure delight from beginning to end, it tells the stories that we always knew were there but have seldom seen in print. And we have never seen them told quite so beautifully or so honestly. The care and respect that Jane Traies has for her contributors shines through in her insightful editing and the poignant commentary she offers between the stories. This book is an absolute gem.’ – Clare Summerskill

Jane Traies is the author of The Lives of Older Lesbians (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) and a number of other publications in the field of ageing and sexuality. As Jay Taverner, she was also joint author of the lesbian historical novels Rebellion, Hearts and Minds and Something Wicked.

Jane Traies

Entry £3.00, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming  by emailing us at

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 17th November
11:00 am - 4:30 pm
The Second Nottingham Radical Bookfair

Nottingham’s second radical bookfair, organised by Five Leaves Bookshop, featuring stalls by national and local publishers, second-hand booksellers and a full supporting programme throughout the day.

Free, with free events. No need to book. A full list of speakers and stall-holders will be posted later, but meantime -

Speakers/events include:

Iain McKay on “Modern Science and Anarchy” – the life and work of Peter Kropotkin, prince, anarchist, geographer, whose funeral was the last public anarchist demonstration in Russia under the Bolsheviks.

“Diversity in children’s picture books”, with Troy Jenkinson (author of The Best Mummy Snails in the Whole Wide World), illustrator Erika Mezza and others

Amrit Wilson on Finding a Voice: Asian women in Britain to mark the new edition of this landmark book

Singing for Our Lives: Stories from the Street Choirs centres on more than 40 oral histories gathered from members of the UK’s many street choirs, supported by Nottingham Clarion Choir

The Fire Now: anti-racist scholarship in times of explicit racial violence, with Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Viji Kuppan

Familiar Stranger: a life between two islands, a memoir by Bill Schwartz and the late Stuart Hall

Stalls from Five Leaves Bookshop, Asylum Magazine (for democratic psychiatry), Spokesman Books, Ex Libris (second hand), Northern Herald (second hand), Sparrow’s Nest Archive/Nottingham People’s History, Jermy and Westerman (second hand), a children’s area…

Part of our annual Bread and Roses week

Cafe on site

The Radical Bookfair and related events comprise a private booking. We follow Five Leaves tradition of open access and free debate across our community, but we don’t want to hear or see publications by  those expressing racist or homophobic views or expressing hostility to trans people.

Venue: Nottingham Mechanics Institute, Nottingham
Tuesday, 20th November
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Trans Like Me, with CN Lester

An agenda-setting, emotionally engaging book on transgender identity.

What does it mean to be transgender? How do we discuss the subject? In this talk, CN Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate: from pronouns to Caitlyn Jenner; from feminist and LGBTQ activists, to the rise in referrals for gender variant children – all by way of insightful and moving passages about the author’s own experience. Trans Like Me shows us how to strive for authenticity in a world which often seeks to limit us by way of labels.

‘This personal, powerful and yet humble human testimony makes a vital contribution to a debate that has too often contained more heat than light. I challenge anyone not to have both heart and mind a little more open after reading this book.’ Shami Chakrabarti

Admission: £3, including refreshments. Booking essential through

In association with Trans Lives East Midlands Project

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 23rd March
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
The Tenth States of Independence

States of Independence is a book festival in a day, attended by several hundred people, featuring around 25 stalls and 25 events, organised by Five Leaves and the Creative Writing Team at De Montfort University.

All events are free and unticketed. There are usually readings, book launches, industry panels – all from the world of independent presses, independent writing, independent thinking.

Come for an hour or come for all day.

We have a cafe on site and all the events are free.

Venue: Clepham Building, Leicester
Friday, 19th April - Sunday, 28th April
All Day
Nottingham Poetry Festival

Advance notice of Nottingham Poetry Festival. Readings by well known poets, poetry in pubs, poetry in performance. Bookfair.

Full programme to follow

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