Date/Time Event
Tuesday, 18th June
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
VERVE POETRY PRESS LAUNCH EVENT – Ben Norris with Luke Kennard and Hannah Swingler

Join us for the official Nottingham Launch of Ben Norris’ wonderful pamphlet some ending!

Ben Norris is well known locally and nationally for the quality he brings to his performance. And while his pamphlet some ending has been written very much for the page, we know his words will be brought to vivid life on this night.

Supporting him are two Birmingham based poets Luke Kennard and Hannah Swingler.  Their books, Truffle Hound and This dress has pockets were released to great acclaim by Verve Poetry Press in the last year.

Ben Norris is a poet, playwright and actor. He is two-time national poetry champion – 2017 BBC Poetry Slam and 2013 UK All-Stars Poetry Slam – and has appeared everywhere from Latitude Festival to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

Ben is from Nottingham and is currently poet-in-residence for Nottinghamshire Libraries, and a Creative Associate at Nottingham Playhouse. He also plays Ben Archer in ‘The Archers’ on BBC Radio Four. 

Luke Kennard is a poet and novelist. His books have been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the International Dylan Thomas Prize. He is a Next Generation Poet and lectures in the School of English at the University of Birmingham.


Hannah Swingler is a poet, teacher and artist, born and bred in Birmingham.  She was the winner of CoachesSLAM 2018, as well as coaching the University of Birmingham’s uniSLAM team to victory.  This year she is the face of the Nationwide TV ads along with Verve poet Matt Abbott.


Verve Poetry Press is a new Birmingham based publisher dedicated to promoting and showcasing Birmingham and Midlands poetic talent in colourful and exciting ways – as you would expect from a press that has grown out of the giddy and flamboyant, annual four days of poetry and spoken word that is Verve Poetry Festival, Birmingham.

Tickets:  £4.00 (£2.00 for students) on the door at the event. Please let us know you are coming though, on Refreshments are included.


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 20th June
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
I Wouldn't Start from Here: the Second Generation Irish in Britain

Editors Ray French, Moy McCrory and Kath McKay will be reading from their book of essays, fiction and poetry by second generation Irish writers in Britain , whose contributors attempt to capture the diverse experience of a group of people largely rendered invisible.

The sections touch upon what it is to be authentic, what’s new about the experience of ‘diaspora’, what evolves and what changes. Many of the contributors acknowledge that anti-Irish racism has been part of their lives and the work reflects the tensions of not belonging but of ploughing on.

Image result for irish in britain

Ray French is the author of two novels, All That is Mine and Going Under and the joint editor of End Notes: ten stories about loss, mourning and commemoration.

Moy McCrory writes academically about identity and class. Her own fiction has been translated into fifteen languages and she was included in the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing.

Kath McKay has published two novels, three poetry collections and short stories, some of which have been broadcast on Radio 4. Like Ray French, she teaches at the University of Hull.

In association with Nottingham Irish Studies Group

Tickets: £3.00 on the door, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 26th June
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Nottingham's Pubs, an illustrated talk by David Mooney
In Nottingham’s Pubs, author David Mooney takes the reader on a fascinating
journey through some of Nottingham’s most interesting, oldest or most
famous watering holes, following nine walks around different parts of
Nottingham and nearby areas, including Kimberley which was home until
recently to Britain’s largest independent brewery until 2006 and now
micro-breweries. Many of the pubs have retained features and traditions of
previous ages, and he reveals the variety of Nottingham’s pubs today
including the characters that have frequented or run the public houses over
the years, for which Nottingham is justly renowned.
David Mooney lives in Nottingham and is a folk performer and amateur folklorist. He has been collecting material in the folklore and traditional customs of the East Midlands for many years.
Tickets: £3.00, including appropriate refreshments (no pickled eggs or pork scratchings though…)
Please let us know you are coming on
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 27th June
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves open book group: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

A novel of emigration, longing and loss

“We’re used to getting these kinds of stories from an American perspective in which moving to America is the natural thing to do. Tóibín makes his emigrant’s story more painful without simply reversing those assumptions or ruling out an ironic distance from postwar Irish insularity. (A prim young woman from Belfast shares her views on Brooklyn’s Italian and Jewish populations: “I didn’t come all the way to America, thank you, to hear people talking Italian on the street or see them wearing funny hats.”) Eilis herself is an interesting character, less defenceless and more troubled than she initially seems, and the novel uncovers the “dark, uncertain” areas within her with a very light touch. Her rejection of her landlady’s proffered friendship, and her encounter with her sexually wistful female boss, are handled as delicately as any scene Tóibín has done, although here and there his delicacy doesn’t exclude a note of ribald amusement as well as worldly melancholy.”              From the Guardian review

Our book group is open to all. You can attend every time, or just the once if you fancy talking about a particular book, or all stops in between. All we ask is that you read the book in advance.

You can obtain the book however you like, but in the lead up to the event we offer 15% discount off book group books to all our customers.

Free, refreshments included but please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 29th June
10:30 am - 4:30 pm
Lowdham Book Festival - the last Saturday

Lowdham Book Festival ends its twentieth year with its traditional “last Saturday”, including the region’s biggest book fair, lots of free talks for adults plus a children’s programme, a cafe, and a day out in the country (well, ten miles from Nottingham).

The main festival is organised by The Bookcase in Lowdham, but the last day by Five Leaves.

Contact us for stall details.

Full programme timing

Saturday 29 June

All; Day Bookfair and Cafe
Throughout the day the Village Hall hosts a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, salads and panini, cakes and ice cream.
The bookfair is srpread over the Village Hall, a big marquee behind the Village Hall and assorted gazebos. It features publishers, charities, book trade organisations and booksellers with new and second-hand books. There are displays of old-fashioned letter press printing equipment.
The author talks and talks about books are all free. No need to book but turn up early for any you are particularly keen on, to guarantee a seat!
Entry is free to the bookfair and all events.
This is our twentieth “last Saturday”, this year with an emphasis on fiction. There’s lots to listen to and discuss, with children’s activities in the field behind the Village Hall.
Difficult issues? Not so difficult issues?
Troy Jenkinson (The Best Mummy Snails in the Whole Wide World, about children with lesbian parents), Rose Robbins (Me and My Sister, about having a sibling with autism) discuss writing books about “issues” for younger children.
This event is for parents/carers, teachers, librarians and writes (and anyone else interested!).
Committee Room in the Village Hall
Watson Fothergill – an illustrated talk by Darren Turner
The Victorian architect Watson Fothergill left a distinctive stamp on Nottingham, making him the most famous local architect of the period. His works can still be seen all over the city.
Methodist Chapel, Main Street
Stephen Booth – crime fiction, set in the Peak District
Stephen makes a welcome return to the Festival, and brings us up to date with murder and mayhem in the Dark Peak. His Cooper and Fry series is now up to 18 books. It’s dangerous in Derbyshire!
Marquee A behind the Village Hall
Ruth Charnock on Joni Mitchell, critical listening
In this sound and image-illustrated talk, Ruth Charnock looks at Joni Mitchell’s work as a musician, composer, cultural commentator and antagonist, thinking particularly about Mitchell’s album Blue and its depiction of desire, free love, and the late ’60s, whilst also exploring Mitchell’s wider cultural contributions and significance.
Women’s Institute, Main Street
Shoestring Poetry Hour  
John Lucas presents Malcom Carson and Paul Binding, stalwarts of the independent publishing scene.
Malcolm has three full collections, BrecciaRangi Changi and other poemsRoute Choice and a pamphlet, Cleethorpes Comes to Paris. Paul Paul Binding is a novelist, critic, poet and cultural historian.  He has written on Eudora Welty and Lorca as well as his own poetry.
Committee Room at the Village Hall
Bird Therapy with Joe Harkness
About depression and bird watching – how becoming a bird watcher saved Joe.
‘I can’t remember the last book I read that I could say with absolute assurance would save lives. But this one will’ Chris Packham
Methodist Chapel, Main Street
Rules are meant to be broken
Darren Simpson (Scavengers) and Kate Mallinder (Summer of No Regrets) write for teenagers. Kate’s novel is about four sixteen-year-old best friends who pledge to live a summer regret-free, taking risks however much it scares them. Darren’s character Landfill lives as a scavenger, behind the wall, swimming with turtles and eating fresh gull. But he wants to explore the world outside.
Marquee A behind the Village Hall
Protest and Power:  the battle for the Labour Party with David Kogan
Journalist David Kogan’s talk can best be described by these quotes about his book:
‘If you want to understand Corbyn’s long march to take control of Labour this is the only book to read (Robert Peston)

New insights, vivid interviews, granular, often objectively funny details, combine to build a portrait of the British left that is both honest and dignifying. (Zoe Williams Guardian)

Women’s Institute, Main Street
Lux, historical fiction with Elizabeth Cook
King David sings his psalms. A world away, King Henry plots. And courtier Thomas Wyatt sees them both, his beloved falcon Lukkes on his armLux is a story of love and its reach, fidelity and faith, power and its abuses.
Elizabeth Cook was orn in Gibraltar, she spent her childhood in Nigeria and Dorset. She is the author of the novel Achilles, which won a Fringe First at Edinburgh. She wrote the libretto for Francis Grier’s The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth, broadcast by the BBC
Committee Room, Village Hall
Welcome to the Cheap Seats, with Andrew Graves
This is an illustrated talk on working class film, with a strong Nottingham element including the films of Shane Meadows, of Alan Sillitoe’s books as well as KesTo Sir , with Love and many others that show the working class speaking for itself. Especially Vicky McClure. Based on Andrew’s book, this being its first public appearance!
Methodist Chapel, Main Street 
“Don’t mention the war”, with Clare Harvey
Clare is the author of several books set precisely during WWII, including in Nottingham. As well as reading from the books she will be talking about her research, her development of strong female characters and how to set stories within, well, a war.
Marquee A, behind the Village Hall
Epic Continent, with Nicholas Jubber
Award-winning travel writer Nicholas Jubber journeys across Europe exploring Europe’s epic poems, from the Odyssey to Beowulf, the Song of Roland to the Nibelungenlied, and their impact on European identity in these turbulent times.
Women’s Institute, Main Street
Mug without a Handle, Life after Loss of a Long-term Partner, One Woman’s Experience.
Local poet, Alison Chippindale, will be reading from her latest collection, taking us through her journey,setting out, the sadness, adjusting, strategies, to going forward.
Committee Room, Village Hall
I Went for a Walk, with Gabriel Stewart
“Just over a year ago I decided I wanted to go for a walk, a rather long one. I had a plan. I’d use my home in London as a base and strike out into the countryside, starting small – short jaunts to Brighton or Norwich, leading up to walking London to Penzance and finishing my year with a walk to Edinburgh. That was the plan. And it couldn’t have gone more wrong.”
Methodist Chapel, Main Street
Our Lady of Everything, with Susan Finlay
Susan’s debut novel is set in Nottingham, 2004. It chronicles the lives of Eoin O’Shea’s friends and family, and what happens to them when he,  a second-generation Northern Irish soldier, is posted by the British army to Iraq.  The Games Workshop, Broadway Cinema, the Post, and Nottingham’s Polish church all feature, as does chaos magik and Warhammer (fourth edition).
Women’s Institute, Main Street
Milkman and other novels from the North of Ireland, with Deirdre O’Byrne
Milkman, by Anna Burns, which won the Booker Prize, was set in Belfast during the height of “the Troubles”. In this talk Deirdre discusses the book in relation to other novels set in the North at a time when Irish writing has rarely been so popular with British readers.
Marquee A, behind the Village Hall
Saturday extras in the big marquee!
12.00 and 4.00, for twenty minutes each time
Join Clare Stevens and a group of writers from Maggie’s, Nottingham reading their own material by Maggie’s stall. Like all our events today, these are free, but there is a Maggie’s collecting box!
1.30 and 3.00 for twenty minutes each time
Join Tuesday Shannon, Pippa Hennessy and Elizabeth Hourston from Soundswrite women’s press, reading their poems about Orkney, archaeology and quantum physics (!) by the Soundswrite stal
Venue: Lowdham, Lowdham
Monday, 1st July
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Waiting for the Revolution? The British far left from 1956,with Evan Smith and Phil Burton-Cartledge
Together with the companion volume of essays, Against the Grain, Waiting for the Revolution, both jointly edited by Evan Smith, has built the start of a history of the small, vocal, fractious, and sometimes very influential far left in the UK since the major break in the Communist Party over Hungary in 1956. This opened the way for a “New Left”, growing Trotskyist groups and the rebirth of an anarchist movement. The far left led opposition to the Vietnam War, the Poll Tax, campaigns to defend abortion rights and against the far right. And yet, even when bringing hundreds of thousands onto the street over the Iraq war, most of the groups involved failed to grow.
This talk weaves through the highways and byways of the left, ending with a discussion as to whether, with a more left wing Labour, an active Green Party and a direct-action orientated Extinction Rebellion, the far left as it used to be constituted has had its day.
Evan Smith teaches at Flinders University in Australia, and writes on the left, anti-racism and anti-colonialism. Phil Burton-Cartledge teaches at Derby University and writes about the lives of Trotskyist activists.
Tickets: £4.00/£2 students, including refreshments
Booking essential from
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 4th July
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Dorian Lynskey on The Ministry of Truth
George Orwell’s last novel has become one of the narratives of the modern world. Its ideas have become part of the language – from ‘Big Brother’ to the ‘Thought Police’, ‘Doublethink’, and ‘Newspeak’ – and seem ever more relevant in the era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’.

In this book. Dorian Lynskey investigates the influences that came together in the writing of 1984 from Orwell’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War and war-time London to his book’s roots in utopian and dystopian fiction. He explores the phenomenon that the novel became on publication and the changing ways in which it has been read over the decades since.

2019 marks the seventieth anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s masterpiece, while the year 1984 itself is now as distant from us as it was from Orwell on publication day. The Ministry of Truth is an examination of one of the most significant works of modern English literature. It describes how history can inform fiction and how fiction can influence history.

Tickets: £4.00 (students £2.00) including refreshments

Please let us know you are coming on

Everything you wanted to know about 1984 but were too busy misusing the word -Orwellian- to ask.

Caitlin Moran


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Sunday, 14th July
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Robert Chandler on Vasily Grossman and Stalingrad

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 17th July
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
City Lights Poetry Night

Join us to mark the hundredth birthday year of the City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. With poems from the City Lights Pocket Poetry Series including Ferlinghetti, Frank O’Hara, Vladimir Mayakovsky and Allen Ginsberg, read by members of the Nottingham literary community. The evening will also feature a short film from City Lights Bookshop.

Free, let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 31st July
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves Book Group: Scavengers by Darren Simpson

Unusually for our book group, our choice this month is a young adult fiction novel, by a local writer.

The theme is what happens when you break the rules… the most important is to NEVER go beyond the wall, never to go Outside. So, what will happen?

Landfill is a boy raised with animals behind the walls of Hinterland – an industrial landscape succumbing to weeds and wild flowers. His guardian, a tormented scavenger called Babagoo, protects him from the horrors of Outside. But as he gets older, Landfill’s curiosity is winning out over obedience and he begins to question the whether Outside is deserving of such fear and loathing…

Our book group is open, and you can come to one event or them all. All we ask is you read the book in advance.

For the second half of the evening, Darren will join us, not for a “reading” but to discuss issues raised in the first half!

We don’t mind where you get the book, but in the lead up we offer 15% discount on book group books.

Free, refreshments provided

Do let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 28th August
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Person-Centred Counselling for Trans and Gender Diverse People, with Sam Hope

Please join us to launch and to discuss issues raised in Sam Hope’s new book on using a person-centred approach with trans clients for counsellors and therapists.

Trans clients are frequently doubted and misunderstood by professional counsellors. Sam’s book will be essential reading for professionals who want to support trans people’s mental health and wellbeing, helping to rebalance the relationship between the therapist and the client.

Sam Hope is a non-binary trans therapist with many years’ of working with the LGBT community and is a well-known trans community worker/campaigner and blogger.


This event will be of interest to any counselling or mental health professional who wants to understand more about working with trans and gender diverse clients as well, of course, to trans people generally and particularly trans people who work with other trans people.

Tickets: £4.00 (£2 students) which includes refreshments and is redeemable against any purchase.

Please let us know you are coming on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 19th September
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times with Thomas Waters

To celebrate the release of his new book Cursed Britain, historian Thomas Waters presents the fascinating but largely unknown history of witchcraft and magic in modern times.

This evocative, interactive talk will explore the many styles and types of magic that have thrived in Britain since the early 1800s. From cunning-men and wise-women to Scottish warlocks, Welsh cursing wells, Roma fortune-tellers, shapeshifting witches and numerous other spiritual healers, it’s a diverse and amazing topic.

Tom has spent the best part of the last decade busily researching the modern history of witchcraft and magic. He’s enthralled by everything mystical, but is particularly interested in the experiences of people who believe they’re cursed, as well as the individuals who are deemed responsible, and the spiritual healers who provide aid in times of great crisis.

The secretive but extraordinary story of witchcraft in modern times stretches from the rural world of Georgian Britain, through the territories of the British Empire, to the multicultural present day. Tom will be telling some spellbinding stories and, for magical practitioners amongst you, giving tips about how you could use historic witchcraft in your own spells. Believer, sceptic or not sure: all are welcome and discussion is encouraged.

Tickets: £4 including refreshments, redeemable against book purchase


This event will be fully booked so it is essential to let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 19th October
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Graham Greene afternoon at Nottingham Cathedral

Venue: Nottingham Cathedral, Nottingham
Thursday, 31st October
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry from Peter Gizzi

Simply book the date now for this event with Nottingham Poetry Exchange

Full details to follow, including support for

Tickets £4 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 2nd November
10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Nottingham Radical Bookfair

The third Nottingham Radical Bookfair… 30 tables from new and second hand booksellers, publishers and organisations and a full supporting programme of talks.

Stalls already booked by Five Leaves, Nottingham People’s History, Northern Herald Books (second hand), Anarchist Communist Group, Ex-Libris (second hand), Verso Books, Notts and Derby Labour History Society, Morning Star, Revolutionary Praxis, Jermy and Westerman (second hand), Sparrow’s Nest Archive, Global Books Marketing, Pluto Press… More to add.

In 2018 we had talks on diversity in children’s literature, trade union organising, Kropotkin, architecture in the former Soviet union, working class poetry, Asian women in Britain, anti-racist scholarship, Stewart Hall, street choirs and Peter Gabriel. No idea yet what we will do in 2019, but save the date!

Cafe on site. The cherry crumble last year was memorable.

A Bread and Roses event

Nottingham Radical Bookfair is trade union supported

The event is free, including the talks

Venue: Nottingham Mechanics Institute, Nottingham
Saturday, 23rd November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry from Ruth Shelton and Matthew Caley

A warm welcome back to Bloodaxe poet Matthew Caley, who will be reading from Trawlerman’s Turquoise,  his sixth collection, which features various seemingly recherché elements – telepathy, Madame Blavatsky, epistolary novels, muse worship, Balzac’s coffee addiction and Thomas Merton’s accidental electrocution amongst them – not always as straightforward ‘subject matter’, but caught up in the backdraft of the poems’ acceleration.




Matthew will be reading with Ruth Hobson (many people in Nottingham will know her as Ruth Shelton) – and any resemblance between the poets is not coincidental as they are siblings! Ruth will be reading from her first collection, Arthur Talks, which was inspired by her work with homeless people in Nottingham.

Tickets: £4.00 on the door (£2.00 students). Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham