Nottingham’s independent bookshop | 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH | 0115 8373097

Date/Time Event
Wednesday, 14th April
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Monique Roffey (online event)

Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and mostly educated in the UK. She is a Senior Lecturer on the MA/MFA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, and tutor for the Norwich Writers Centre. Her seventh book, The Mermaid of Black Conch, won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2020. She is the author of seven books, six novels and a memoir. Four of her novels are set in Trinidad and the Caribbean region.

The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Love Story is published by Peepal Tree. It’s set in April 1976, in St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch. David, a fisherman, sings to himself in his pirogue, waiting for a catch – and attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect. Aycayia, a centuries-old mermaid, is drawn to his singing. But her curiosity is her undoing when she is caught by American tourists… David rescues her and hides her away, where she slowly, painfully turns into a woman.

In this event she will read from The Mermaid of Black Conch, talk about her work with Deirdre O’Byrne, and answer questions from the audience.

The event will be streamed live on Zoom and later uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Free. Register via Eventbrite – you will have the option of buying The Mermaid of Black Conch to be sent to you P&P free (UK only).

Thursday, 15th April
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Autism and the Arts 3: Sonia Boué

Sonia Boué is concerned with objects, identity and location. Rooted in a fascination with family archives, material memory, and the themes of forced migration and inherited trauma, her work has been exhibited internationally and is held in digital form at Tate Britain, the BBC, and Bodleian Library in Oxford. She has performed in the UK, Ireland, and Spain.

Sonia also creates and leads Arts Council England-funded projects which pioneer inclusive models of practice, and is also a writer on autism and art, and a leading consultant for neurodiversity in the arts. As an experienced freelance neurodivergent (ND) artist, writer, and consultant for arts organisations, she helps arts organisations embed the authentic learning needed to work confidently with ND creatives, and create effective bespoke engagement strategies for ND individuals and communities. She will talk about her new project – Neurophototherapy – developing a visual arts practice that helps late-diagnosed autistic women to come to terms with their diagnosis and the effect of autism on their lives.

Tickets: £3, register via Eventbrite

See a trailer for the event here.

In partnership with Autistic Nottingham, with Lottery funding from Arts Council England

This event will have BSL interpretation provided. PLEASE NOTE: because of the way Zoom works on an iPad, you will not be able to see the BSL interpretation during the talk if you’re using an iPad – please use an alternative device to view the webinar.

Saturday, 17th April
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Women's Things: writing from mid-life and menopause - online book launch

We don’t talk about ‘Women’s Things’.

As a society, we don’t often speak openly and frankly about menopause. But maybe we should…

This innovative anthology includes new writing by twenty women from across the East Midlands. Created as part of the Silent Archive Project, each piece of prose, poetry and memoir in the collection explores the strange, poignant, funny and difficult experiences of menopause and mid-life, offering fresh and illuminating perspectives on a taboo topic, and giving voice to stories that are rarely heard.

This collection is an act of defiance, solidarity and support. It is also an incredible insight into what it means to be a woman.

Join us for the launch of the anthology to find out more about the Silent Archive project and hear some of the writers reading their work.

Free, register via Eventbrite.

Please note: this event will not be recorded. The anthology will be available to buy – email events@fiveleaves.co.uk for details.

Wednesday, 21st April
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Rose Robbins

Rose Robbins has been writing and illustrating books since the age of 7, when she got a stapler for her birthday. Her brother is autistic and she teaches autistic young people, so it is no surprise that her first two published picture books (from Scallywag Press) are on the theme of autism. ‘Me and My Sister’ is about a boy who has an autistic sister; told from his point of view it is a child’s eye view of what it’s like to be the responsible sibling, and the highs and lows of having a much-loved but differently-abled sibling. ‘Talking is Not My Thing’ shows how siblings can enjoy life together and communicate even when one is autistic and non-verbal.

For Rose’s latest book, ‘LOUD!’, she turns to the theme of ADHD. When Abigail can’t concentrate in class, she gets bored and is naughty. But just when things are about to go wrong yet again, a teacher discovers exactly what to do to engage this little girl, and Abigail ends up finding a special voice of her very own.

Rose says: “I was inspired to write a book about a ‘naughty’ child finding her voice, and overcoming the expectations of others. I am always moved by devoted caring teachers who somehow manage to get the best out of even the most ‘difficult’ children, and I wanted to make a story with this sort of empathetic relationship at its heart. Abigail may be a disruptive child, but she has potential just like any other. I want children to feel that they can express themselves and be heard, even by grown-ups!”

The book also features an outstanding, visibly disabled teacher.

Rose will read extracts from her books and discuss the representation of autism and ADHD in children’s books with Deirdre O’Byrne. She will also answer questions from the audience.

Free. Book via Eventbriteyou will have the option of buying a copy of any of Rose’s books to be sent to you P&P free (UK only)

Thursday, 22nd April
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Autism: Katherine May / Rhiannon Lloyd-Williams

Katherine May (memoir/fiction) and Rhiannon Lloyd-Williams (poet/playwright) read from their writing and talk about how their autism has influenced their work, and how they’ve chosen to write about autism.

Katherine May is a New York Times bestselling author, whose titles include ‘Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times’ and ‘The Electricity of Every Living Thing’, her memoir of being autistic. Her fiction includes ‘The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club’ and ‘Burning Out’. She is also the editor of ‘The Best, Most Awful Job’, an anthology of essays about motherhood. Her journalism and essays have appeared in a range of publications including ‘The New York Times’, ‘The Observer’ and ‘Aeon’.

Rhiannon Lloyd-Williams began writing about autism in 2016 after receiving an autism diagnosis in her thirties. She uses her skills as a writer to share her experience of autism in new and illuminating ways, utilising a multitude of communication methods, from poetry to public speaking. Since then she has started her own theatre company, Autact Theatre CIC, who toured her play ‘The Duck: A glimpse into one autistic woman’s world’. She also delivers training workshops and talks on a range of topics surrounding autism, such as autism in women, health and wellbeing, supporting autistic people in the workplace, creativity and the value of a diagnosis.

In partnership with Autistic Nottingham, with Lottery funding from Arts Council England

This event will have BSL interpretation provided

Ticket options (book via Eventbrite)

£3 (event only)
£8.50 including a copy of ‘The Electricity of Every Living Thing’
£9.50 including a copy of ‘Wintering’
£18 including copies of both books.

Much as it pains us to link to a certain company, Rhiannon Lloyd-Williams’ The Duck and other poems is available as a Kindle ebook.

Wednesday, 5th May
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Rosie Garland

Tagged “literary hero” by ‘The Skinny’, Rosie writes long and short-form fiction, poetry and sings with post-punk band The March Violets. She also performs twisted cabaret as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. With a passion for language nurtured by libraries, she started out in spoken word, garnering praise from Apples and Snakes as “one of the country’s finest performance poets”.

She has published three novels to critical acclaim: ‘The Palace of Curiosities’, nominated for both the Desmond Elliott and the Polari First Book Prize; ‘Vixen’, nominated for the Green Carnation Prize; and ‘The Night Brother’, which ‘The Times’ described as “a delight… with shades of Angela Carter.” This year her latest poetry collection, ‘What Girls Do In The Dark‘, was published by Nine Arches Press.

In 2019 Val McDermid named her “one of the UK’s most compelling LGBT writers today.”

In this event Rosie will read from ‘What Girls Do in the Dark’ and talk to Megan Taylor about her life and writing. She will also answer questions from the audience.

Free. Book via Eventbrite.

Thursday, 6th May
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This is the BBC Holmes Service, book launch with John Holmes

John Holmes has met, well everyone, during his career at the BBC. Nationally he was involved with Any Questions?, Any Answers?, The Natural History Programme and Down Your Way. He went to  10, Downing Street with Nigel Hawthorne to interview Margaret Thatcher and visited the birthplace of The Goons, Bexhill, with Spike Milligan.

At BBC Radio Nottingham he worked on sport in those halcyon days when Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest were winning the European Cup, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club were on top with Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee and Torvill and Dean were dominating ice dance.

Special guests on his local show have included Dame Stella Rimington of MI5, Sir Paul Smith, Nobel Prize-winner Sir Peter Mansfield, Dr Stewart Adams, pioneer of Ibruprofen, Lord Falconer and Sir Peter Bazalgette.

In this event he will be in conversation with David Belbin, chair of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature.

Expect name dropping. Expect celebrity gossip. Expect mention of bands you had forgotten…

Register via Eventbrite

This is the BBC Holmes Service is available to buy from our webshop.


Sunday, 9th May
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Nottingham launch of Lean Fall Stand with Jon McGregor

Jon McGregor is probably Nottinghamshire’s major literary novelist. At this online launch he will be reading from Lean Fall Stand from the room in Bromley House where he started writing the book, followed by a conversation with Deirdre O’Byrne from Five Leaves. There will be the opportunity to ask questions.

Lean Fall Stand is the highly-anticipated new novel from the Costa-award winning, three-times Booker-longlisted author of Reservoir 13. When an Antarctic research expedition goes wrong, the consequences are far-reaching – for the men involved and for their families back home. Robert ‘Doc’ Wright, a veteran of Antarctic field work, holds the clues to what happened, but he is no longer able to communicate them. While Anna, his wife, navigates the sharp contours of her new life as a carer, Robert is forced to learn a whole new way to be in the world.

Jon McGregor returns with a stunning novel that tenderly unpicks the notion of heroism and explores the human impulse to tell our stories – even when words fail us. A meditation on the line between sacrifice and selfishness, this is a story of the courage it can take just to get through the day.

A joint event with Bromley House Library.

Prior to publication we are offering signed and dedicated copies of his new book from our webshop.

This event is free – register via Eventbrite.

Monday, 10th May
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Diversity in Children's Literature 1: history and context, with Michael Rosen and Sanchita Basu De Sarkar

This is the first event in our series on cultural diversity in children’s literature. Michael Rosen, Sanchita Basu De Sarkar and another panellist (tbc) discuss how children’s literature has progressed to become more culturally inclusive and diverse than ever before, with publishers like Knights Of, Otter-Barry and Lantana, and bookshops like Letterbox Library and Round Table Books successfully bringing truly representative fiction and non-fiction to children and young adults of all ethnicities and cultures.

Michael Rosen was one of the first poets to visit schools and is committed to the teaching of writing and the reading of literature in schools. He won the 1997 Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished services to children’s literature, and received an honorary doctorate in 2005 from the Open University and another from Exeter University in 2007. He was appointed the Children’s Laureate for 2007-2009. Much of his writing is influenced by the Yiddish culture he grew up in.

Sanchita Basu De Sarkar started working at the Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill when she left university, and in 2015 she became its owner. She strongly believes in finding the right book for each child, and has written in The Guardian (in 2018) that “The joy of seeing someone who looks like you on a page is huge – but some of us have a hard time finding them.” As an experienced children’s bookseller with a keen interest in culturally diverse books for children, we’ll find out whether she thinks things are changing.

Although this event is not aimed specifically at an audience of children and young people, they may well find it of interest.

Tickets: £3, register via Eventbrite.

Supported by Lottery funding from Arts Council England.

Thanks to Bounce Marketing, who helped us find publishers and authors to take part in this series.

This event will have BSL interpretation provided. PLEASE NOTE: because of the way Zoom works on an iPad, you will not be able to see the BSL interpretation during the talk if you’re using an iPad – please use an alternative device to view the webinar.

Tuesday, 25th May
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Bob Dylan in London, with Jackie Lees and KG Miles

Jackie Lees and KG Miles will be in conversation with Michael Eaton about their new book, Bob Dylan in London – which talks about exactly what it says on the cover. This event is one day after Dylan had his eightieth birthday.

Here we can talk about the venues and key Dylan related places in London (maybe with an added slide showing Dylan in Nottingham, since we are a Nottingham bookshop…)

Astonishingly, Jackie is only the second woman to write a Dylan book ever, and the first since 1982. That will be one thing to talk about!

 This is the story of Dylan’s earliest visits to London as an unknown folk singer, crashing in friends’ bedsits, right through to his sell-out concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Earls Court.

Log in details for this online event to follow

Jackie Lees first heard Bob Dylan sing Lay Lady Lay on the radio when she was 13. A career of writing and editing for a homelessness charity was interrupted to co-curate the Dylan Room at the Troubadour, to provide amateur management for the Dylan Band and to write Bob Dylan in London: Troubadour Tales. 

K G Miles. From an awestruck child at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969, Bob Dylan has taken Londoner K G Miles on an emotional musical journey lasting over 50 years. Now, as he is co-curator of the Dylan Room at London’s Troubadour Club and organises Dylan tours.

Michael Eaton is a Nottingham writer – his latest book is Based on a True Story, a collection of essays, playscripts and local history. He knows a thing or two about Dylan too.

Bob Dylan in London is available here: https://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/product/bob-dylan-in-london-troubadour-tales/

Thursday, 27th May
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Things I Have Withheld, with Kei Miller THIS DATE MAY CHANGE!

Kei Miller will be in conversation with Deanne Bell from Nottingham Trent University about the subjects of his Things I have Withheld, published earlier in May.

In this moving and lyrical collection of essays, the poet and novelist Kei Miller explores the silence in which so many important things are kept. He examines the experience of discrimination through this silence and what it means to breach it: to risk words, to risk truths. And he considers the histories our bodies inherit – the crimes that haunt them, and how meaning can shift as we move throughout the world, variously assuming privilege or victimhood. Through letters to James Baldwin, encounters with Liam Neeson, Soca, Carnival, family secrets, love affairs, white women’s tears, questions of aesthetics and more, Miller powerfully and imaginatively recounts everyday acts of racism and prejudice.

Kei Miller – like Deanne Bell – was born in Jamaica. He currently divides his time between Jamaica and the United Kingdom. He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. Published widely in the Caribbean before coming to the UK in 2004, his most recent other work included the novel Augustown and the poetry collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion.

Log in details to follow for this online event

His book of essays, Things I Have Withheld can be ordered in advance from bookshop@fiveleaves.co.uk

Monday, 7th June
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Overcoming Everyday Racism, with Susan Cousins

Susan Cousins will talk about the psychological impact of racism and discrimination on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people and offers steps to improve wellbeing. It includes She will talk about definitions of race, racism and other commonly used terms, such as microaggressions, and evaluates the effect of definitions used to describe BAME people.

She hopes to cover self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life, positive relations with others, environmental mastery, autonomy – and include examples and creative exercises.

Susan is the author of Overcoming Everyday Racism: Building Resilience and Wellbeing in the Face of Discrimination and Microaggressions which is for use as a tool within counselling and therapeutic settings as well as a self-help tool by individuals, each category provides a framework for thinking about how to manage everyday racism, live with more resilience, and thrive.


There’s an interview with Susan here: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-32/december-2019/we-need-support-our-diverse-population, which includes material on her own background in India.

Copies of her book are available from bookshop@fiveleaves.co.uk

This is a free event

A booking link will be posted shortly