Date/Time Event
Friday, 16th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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, 17th November
10:30 am - 5:00 pm
The Second Nottingham Radical Bookfair, and lots of supporting events on the same day!

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.

We are grateful for financial support from UNITE (East Midlands region, NG58 branch) towards travel costs for speakers

Speakers/events include:


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

It’s the work, the work, the working life… and how do we organise to make things better? Build the old unions, or create new? The recent long university strike and the success of independent unions in “organising the unorganisable” show what might be possible. Join the discussion with Alan Tuckman (author of Kettling the Unions)


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

Familiar Stranger: a life between two islands, a memoir by Bill Schwartz and the late Stuart Hall, the Jamaican-born cultural theorist, political activist of the New Left, and sociologist


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

Owen Hatherley on his adventures travelling around eleven countries of the former Soviet Union - “Daffodils for Wordsworth. Deprivation for Larkin. A trashed tower block surrounded by a toxic landscape pocked with rust-pitted Ladas in a forgotten oblast 2,000 miles from Moscow for Hatherley.” – Jonathan Meades


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 Azeezat Johnson (editors) and Viji Kuppan (contributor)


Paul Hegarty gives a sound-illustrated talk on  Peter Gabriel, singer-songwriter, record producer and activist

Assembly Lines - poetry of the workplace by Jane Commane and Neil Fulwood. Jane runs Nine Arches Press, a poetry specialist press, and her own latest collection is from Bloodaxe. Neil is the author of No Avoiding It, a Nottingham geography of work and class


Stalls from Five Leaves Bookshop, Asylum Magazine (for democratic psychiatry), Radical Routes, Spokesman Books, Ex-Libris (second hand), Northern Herald (second hand), Sparrow’s Nest Archive,  Nottingham People’s Histreh, Jermy and Westerman (second hand), children’s area, Active Distribution, PM Press, AK Press, Nottingham Women’s Centre Library, Morning Star,  Verso, Pluto, Lawrence & Wishart, Left Book Club, Revolutionary Praxis, Dog Section and others

Cafe and bar on site

Full wheelchair access to rooms and facilities

Leaflets/papers. There will be a table for free leaflets and giveaways. We ask people from campaign and other groups to use this space and we don’t want people selling papers inside the events or main hall.  Thanks

The Nottingham Radical Bookfair and related events comprise a private booking. We follow Five Leaves usual policy of open access and free debate across our community but we don’t expect or want to hear or see anything expressing racist or homophobic sentiments or expressing hostility to transgender people or women!

Venue: Nottingham Mechanics Institute, Nottingham
Monday, 19th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry from Matvei Yankelevitch, Nasser Hussain and Jo Dixon

A Nottingham Poetry Exchange event

In 1993, Matvei Yankelevich began publishing the Ugly Duckling zine, which transformed, in the late 1990s, into Ugly Duckling Presse. At UDP, Matvei curates the Eastern European Poets Series . He also co-edited the Emergency Gazette (1998-2002) and 6×6 magazine from 2000-2017.

Matvei is the author of Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square), the poetry collection Alpha Donut (United Artists), the novella-in-fragments Boris by the Sea (Octopus), and several chapbooks.

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (for translation) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (for poetry).

His translations of Daniil Kharms were collected in Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms(Ardis/Overlook) and received praise from the TLS, the Guardian, the New York Times, and elsewhere. His co-translation (with Eugene Ostashevsky) of Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me to Think (NYRB) received the National Translation Award in 2014.

His critical writing includes essays on Conceptual Poetry (LA Review of Books) and on Russian-American poetry (Octopus). He edited a portfolio of Contemporary Russian Poetry and Poetics for the magazine Aufgabe (No. 8, Fall 2009). Matvei teaches for the Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in Brooklyn

(Matvei Yankelevitch’s reading was announced last year but had to be postponed because of the University and College Union strike as he is lecturing locally while visiting)

Matvei will be joined by

Nasser Hussain is a Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University. His first book, boldface was published by Burning Eye Books in 2014, and his new book SKY WRI TEI NGS was published by Coach House Books this year. Nasser has had a number of occupations: treeplanter, wilderness guide, amateur restaurateur, and now academic and poet. He likes his new job best. For him, poems are best described as ‘language with a pattern’, and much of his recent practice takes pleasure in finding new patterns to wonder at. SKY WRI TEI NGS is the first expression of a larger interest in mass transit, and is his attempt to find a literal and poetic intersection between two things that ‘move’ us (in this case, planes and poems).

Here’s Nasser reading:

Jo Dixon is a poet and critic living in Nottingham. Her poems have appeared in New Walk, The Interpreter’s House and Furies: A Poetry Anthology of Women Warriors (For Books’ Sake), In Transit: Poems of Travel (The Emma Press) and South Bank Poetry. Her debut poetry pamphlet: A Woman in the Queue, was published by Melos Press in May 2016. 
In June 2018, she was shortlisted for The Poetry Business International Book and Pamphlet Competition.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 21st November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Back to Black, retelling Black radicalism for the 21st century, with Kehinde Andrews
Back to Black traces the long and eminent history of Black radical politics. Born out of resistance to slavery and colonialism, its rich past encompasses figures such as Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis, the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter activists of today. At its core it argues that racism is inexorably embedded in the fabric of society, and that it can never be overcome unless by enacting change outside of this suffocating system. Yet this Black radical tradition has been diluted and moderated over time; wilfully misrepresented and caricatured by others; divested of its legacy, potency, inclusivity and force for global change.

Kehinde Andrews explores the true roots of this tradition, and connects the dots to today’s struggles by showing what a renewed politics of Black radicalism might look like in the 21st century.

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Kehinde Andrews is one of the leading Black political voices in Britain. He is associate professor in sociology at Birmingham City University, a regular writer of opinion pieces for the GuardianIndependent and Ebony magazine, and editor of the series ‘Blackness in Britain’. He was part of the team that launched the first Black Studies degree in Europe, and is Co-chair of the Black Studies Association.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 22nd November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves Open Book Group discusses The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen

Five Leaves’ book group is open to all. You are free to attend one meeting per lifetime, every meeting or all stops in between. All we ask is that you read the book in advance. You don’t have to get it from us, library users are welcome, but we offer 15% off book club books in the lead up to the event. The author will not be present!

Nobody can leave an island. An island is a cosmos in a nutshell, where the stars slumber in the grass beneath the snow. But occasionally someone tries . . .

At the start of the twentieth century Ingrid Barrøy is born on an island that bears her name – a holdfast for a single family, their livestock, their crops, their hopes and dreams. Her father dreams of building a quay that will connect them to the mainland, but closer ties to the wider world come at a price. Her mother has her own dreams – more children, a smaller island, a different life – and there is one question Ingrid must never ask her.

Island life is hard, a living scratched from the dirt or trawled from the sea, so when Ingrid comes of age, she is sent to the mainland to work for one of the wealthy families on the coast. But Norway too is waking up to a wider world, a modern world that is capricious and can be cruel. Tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must fight to protect the home she thought she had left behind.

The Follower was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize and is translated from Norwegian.

Five Leaves book group is free to attend and refreshments are provided. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Monday, 26th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
A radical history of the world (in 45 minutes), with Neil Faulkner POSTPONED UNTIL FEBRUARY

Sorry – for personal reasons Neil has had to postpone this – watch out for a new date in February

This is a history of hominids, hunters and herders; of emperors and slaves; of patriarchs and women; of rich and poor; of dictators and revolutionaries. From the ancient empires of Persia and Rome to the Russian Revolution, the Vietnam War, and the 2008 Crash, this is a history of greed and violence, but also of solidarity and resistance.

Many times in the past, a different society became an absolute necessity. Humans have always struggled to create a better life. This history proves that we, the many, have the power to change the world.

Neil Faulkner is a historian and archaeologist. He is the author of numerous books, including A Radical History of the World (Pluto, 2018), A People’s History of the Russian Revolution (Pluto, 2017) and Lawrence of Arabia’s War (Yale, 2016). This will be Neil’s third talk at the bookshop. There will be plenty time for discussion.

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

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Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 27th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Nottingham Poetry Society reading, with Cathy Grindrod and Jan Norton

A Nottingham Poetry Society event, with readers Cathy Grindrod and Jan Norton

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Admission: £4 (£1 to members of NPS)

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 28th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Library of Ice, readings from a cold climate, with Nancy Campbell

Nancy Campbell combines memoir, scientific and cultural history with a bewitching account of landscape and place, which will appeal to readers of Robert Macfarlane, Roger Deakin and Olivia Laing. 

Artists residence Upernavik_Low Res_Image Credit_Nancy Campbell 2012Nancy Campbell reads from her latest book which combines memoir, scientific and cultural history with a bewitching account of landscape and place. As Writer in Residence at the world’s northernmost museum – at Upernavik in Greenland – during the dark weeks of midwinter Campbell was able to experience first-hand the changing life of Arctic coastal communities. Captivated by the solid yet impermanent nature of ice, by its stark, rugged beauty, she then set out to explore it in all its facets. From the Bodleian Library archives to the traces left by polar expeditions, from the first Greenlandic libraries to the curling rinks of Kinross, her new book examines the impact of ice on our lives at a time when it is itself under threat from climate change.

Carol Rowntree Jones will introduce, chair and be in discussion with Nancy

The Library of Ice is a beautifully rendered evocation of the interplay of people and their environment on a fragile planet, and of a writer’s quest to define the value of books in a changing world.

Nancy is a poet, essayist and art critic who read here in 2014 – then with early poems, some in Greenlandic, which were published in her debut collection Disko Bay (shortlisted for the Forward Prize 2016). Her reading was memorable.


Admission: £4, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 4th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Republic of Motherhood: poetry from Liz Berry and Ann Gray BOOKING FAST...

I crossed the border into the Republic of Motherhood                                                                              and found it a queendom, a wild queendom

Liz Berry will be reading from her new collection The Republic of Motherhood or, rather, singing the body electric, from the joy and anguish of becoming a new mother to the darkest hours and brightest days. She will also be reprising her earlier collection Black Country.

This pamphlet length work was this year’s Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem

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Liz is one of the best readers of poetry in the Midlands

Liz will be joined by Ann Gray, winner of the Smith/Doorstep pamphlet competition for I Wish I Had More Mothers.

Would having more mothers make the loss of one less painful?  Following her mother on her dementia journey, Ann Gray shows us that in the chaos there can also be tenderness, humour and love.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 6th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Vinyl Revival, the shops and the people that made it happen, with Graham Jones

                                                                                        Graham Jones works for Proper Music. His first book, The Last Shop Standing, chronicled the decline of the record shop and celebrated our own Selectadisc and Arcade Records. He’s back with the story of vinyl, that scratchable, oversized and unlikely commodity which is back in fashion big time.

He explains why we have more than a hundred more record shops than we had in 2009, and how others have gained the reward from their hard work. Budget turntables, manufacturers, supermarkets, chain stores, clothes shops, pressing plants and even the government are amongst the many who have benefited from their efforts. Graham Jones has spent 32 years travelling the UK selling to independent record shops and visited more record shops than any other human. This sound-illustrated talk guides you round the record shops of the UK who sell new vinyl. He has gathered some fascinating and funny anecdotes told him by much-loved record shop staff so that when you visit you will feel like you already know the characters behind the counters.

£4 admission, including refreshments. £3 to anyone carrying a piece of vinyl music. £2 if you have a rarity to show off! Let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Monday, 10th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Catalonia Reborn: How Catalonia Took On the Corrupt Spanish State and the Legacy of Franco, with Chris Bambery

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2017 saw Catalonia come under the world’s spotlight as it again fought for independence and the preservation and protection of its unique Catalan culture. Answering the questions and complications behind the fight for Catalonian Independence, this talk is a guide to the region’s political, historical and cultural issues. For the lay person as well as the expert, it takes the reader through the rich history of Catalonia – its language, culture and political background – to the present day, covering defining eras of the region from Franco’s dictatorship to the 2017 independence referendum and elections.

Chris will also look at what could happen now, in Catalonia and in Spain, following the impasse between the two countries.

Chris Bambery wrote Catalonia Reborn with George Kerevan. His People’s History of Scotland has just been republished in a revised edition.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 13th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Style in My DNA, with Lorna Holder

Style In My DNA: Lorna Holder  photo

In the 1970s, teenagers of Caribbean descent would declare themselves ‘Black-British’ and assert precisely what that meant to them. For Lorna Holder, this time of significant change would see the young artist take fashion seriously and gain control over her life’s narrative. Join Lorna for a reading from her new book Style in My DNA.

Lorna will be discussing her 35-year career in the fashion and retail industries and the challenges facing a successful Black woman in business. Her talk – first given at the V & A – will be illustrated by evocative images of fashion in the British Caribbean community from the 1940s to date, starting with the Windrush generation. Here’s one from the 1960s,  Biba dress, mohair jacket, stripe tie:

Image result for style in my dna1966 A Brixton possie Copyright George Fowokan Kelly

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 15th January
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Ecology, Red Dwarfs and the Habitability of Their Worlds, with David Stevenson
The Kepler craft and many other telescopes have been used to discover well over 3,500 planets outside the Solar System. The big question, for many, is how many of these worlds are habitable – not only for life in general, but humans in particular? Specifically, what does it take to make a planet habitable – and, can”habitability” be equated with a suitability for the evolution of complex life? In this talk David Stevenson describes how he has applied a combination of climate models for exo-planets (those from outside the Solar System) and ecological principles to decide just how habitable a habitable planet can be. In doing so he give a partial answer to Fermi’s famous question, “Where is everybody?”
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David did his first degree at the University of Glasgow in Molecular Biology, before moving to Cambridge to do a PhD with Ian Furner in Genetics. Since then he worked in academia for a few years before becoming a teacher.   He is now a teacher at Carlton le Willows Academy, where he is the Assistant Head of Sixth Form and Lead in Biology, Forensics and the EPQ. He’s written six books with Springer:  Extreme Explosions (about Supernovae); Under a Crimson Sun (covering the same topic as this talk); The Complex Lives of Star Clusters (about star clusters…); The Exo-Weather Report (about terrestrial and extra-terrestrial weather and climate);  The Nature of Life and its Potential to Survive (about the development and extinction of life); Granite Skyscrapers (about how granite has shaped our world and influences biology) – and finally Red Dwarfs and their Worlds – released later this year.
Admission: £3 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 21st February
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Japan Now!

We are pleased to again welcome a team of creative writers from Japan as part of the Japan Now arts project.

Readings will be in Japanese and English.

Full programme and ticketing arrangements to be announced



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

Sunday, 12th May
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Nurses' Day

Five Leaves is pleased to work with the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) trade union to celebrate nurses’ day.

Full details to follow

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham