Date/Time Event
Sunday, 17th November
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Shoestring Press at 25!

Nottingham’s premier poetry publisher hits 25… Established and run by John Lucas from Beeston, Shoestring has published over 400 books, mosty of poetry but including some fiction, some memoir and some books of essays. His authors have come from everywhere from Radford to Tasmania and all stops in between, with a number of books in translation.

Today some guest poets, on and off the Shoestring list, will read from the best of that 25 years, and we’ll also remember a few Shoestring poets who have gone to that big poetry reading in the sky over the last quarter century.

Free, refreshments provided

Booking essential on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 20th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Emilie Pine speaks powerfully from her painful experience of the emotional labour of caring for her alcoholic father, on the grief of miscarriage, on the social taboos around menstrual blood and female pain, on the ways young women use their own bodies as weapons against themselves. Her writing and presentations are never self-pitying, and, ultimately, embrace joy and hope.

Emilie Pine is Associate Professor of Modern Drama at University College Dublin, Ireland. She has published widely as an academic and critic. Notes to Self is her first collection of personal essays and the winner of The Irish Book Awards Book of the Year.

Emilie will be in conversation with Deirdre O’Byrne (Nottingham Irish Studies/Five Leaves Bookshop)

Tickets: £5 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 21st November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Megan Taylor book launch

Join us to launch Megan Taylor’s new novel We Wait, published by Eyrie Press

“The wealthy Crawleys can’t abide a scandal, so when fifteen-year-old Maddie’s behaviour causes concern, she’s packed off to the family’s country estate, along with her best friend, Ellie. But while Maddie is resentful, Ellie is secretly thrilled.  A whole summer at Greywater House, which she’s heard so much about – and with Maddie, who she adores… 

But from the moment the girls arrive, it’s clear there’s more to the house and the family than Ellie could ever have imagined.  Maddie’s aunt, Natalie, and her bedridden grandmother are far from welcoming – and something has been waiting at Greywaters, something that flits among the shadows and whispers in the night.

As the July heat rises and the girls’ relationship intensifies, the house’s ghosts can’t be contained, and it isn’t just Ellie who has reason to be afraid.  Three generations of the Crawley family must face their secrets when past and present violently collide.”

Free, refreshments included. Let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 23rd November
All Day
BS Johnson readings

The late BS Johnson was a writer of experimental fiction. His best known book was The Unfortunates. To celebrate fifty years since first publication the local theatre company Excavate has organised a reading tour of the city.

The Unfortunates is a book in a box, with chapters printed as pamphlets that you can read in any order as long as you read the first chapter first and the last chapter last. There is no continuous narrative but the same characters appear throughout. The book is set in an unnamed city and starts “But I know this city!”. But we know the city is Nottingham and today’s event takes place all over the city where individuals and groups can wander round the readings in any order, taking in as many or as few as you like. At each venue individuals and groups will be read sections of the book, of between one and ten minutes, by volunteer readers (which includes BS Johnson’s biographer, Jonathan Coe, and us!).

Fuller details of the venues and timings to follow.

This is an opportunity for you to “know this city” and take part in BS Johnson’s experimental world.

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 26th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves open book group discusses A Pale View of the Hills, by Kazuo Ishiguru

Five Leaves open book group discusses Ishiguro’s first novel.

Ishiguro tells the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. Retreating into the past, she finds herself reliving one particular hot summer night in Nagasaki, when she and her friends struggled to rebuild their lives after the war. But then as she recalls her strange friendship with Sachiko – a wealthy woman reduced to vagrancy – the memories take on a disturbing cast.

We don’t mind where you source the book, but in the lead up to the meetings we offer 15% discount generally off book group books. Our book group is quite open so you can attend one, a few or every meeting or just drop in when you fancy discussing the book of the evening.

For the avoidance of doubt, Ishiguro will not be attending the event!

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 27th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Kashmir: a talk by Andrew Whitehead

Andrew Whitehead will bring us up to date with what is happening in Kashmir, and the roots of the current conflict. Kashmir is a land split between India, Pakistan and China, with many Kashmiris making their homes in Nottingham, mostly still with family links “back home”.

Andrew Whitehead is a former head of news at the BBC World Service and the author of the major work on Kashmir in the past A Mission in Kashmir, now available as a free download.

He is an Honorary Professor at the Institute for Asia-Pacific Studies at the University of Nottingham. He is also the author, joint author and joint editor of several unrelated books for Five Leaves Publications including London Fictions, the series of books on Curious London and a book on Alexander Baron.

Andrew teaches journalism in India and has contributed to many Indian magazines.

This event is free,  refreshments are provided. Please reserved your place on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 28th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry and poetry in translation from Alan Baker and David Duncombe

Readings from Alan Baker and David Duncombe, in association with Nottingham Poetry Society

Alan Baker will be talking about the work the French poet Yves Bonnefoy and the Morrocan Abdellatif Laâbi, and reading his own and others’ translations of their poetry.

Baker’s most recent poetry collections are Letters from the Underworld (Red Ceilings, 2018) and Riverrun (KFS), a sequence of poems about the River Trent. He is publisher of Leafe Press and the online magazine Litter.
David Duncombe will be reading from the forthcoming publication by Smokestack Books of his translation of the Spanish poet Marcos Ana: Poems from Prison and Life.
Marcos Ana was the longest serving political prisoner under the Franco regime, imprisoned as a teenager at the end of the Civil War and released 23 years later, after international appeals spearheaded by Pablo Neruda. His poems have been described as beautiful, clear, musical, painful and compelling.
Work by David Duncombe includes five poetry collections, junior fiction, radio drama and stories. He has travelled widely, especially in Spain and now lives in Derbyshire. He is a long-serving member of Nottingham Poetry Society.

Tickets: £4.00 (£2.00 students and Nottingham Poetry Society members).

Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 4th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Carcanet at 50

Carcanet Press, one of the leading poetry publishers in the English-speaking world, turns fifty this year. This event brings together four Nottingham-based Carcanet poets for a night of readings and celebration, in association with the Nottingham Creative Writing Hub. A free, celebratory, limited-edition pamphlet will be available for all who attend the event.

Rory Waterman is Senior Lecturer in English at Nottingham Trent University. His first collection of poetry, Tonight the Summer’s Over (Carcanet, 2013), was a Poetry BookSociety Recommendation and was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize; his second, Sarajevo Roses (Carcanet, 2017), was shortlisted for the Ledbury Forte Prize for Second Collections.

Matthew Welton was born in Nottingham in 1969, and is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham. He received the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for The Book of Matthew (Carcanet, 2003), which was a Guardian Book of the Year, and his other collections are We needed coffee but… (Carcanet, 2009) and The Number Poems (Carcanet, 2016).

Gregory Woods has published five collections with Carcanet: We Have the Melon (1992), May I Say Nothing (1998), The District Commissioner’s Dreams (2002), Quidnunc (2007) and An Ordinary Dog (2011). He is Professor Emeritus of Gay and Lesbian Studies at Nottingham Trent University.

Becky Cullen was a winner of the 2017/18 Poetry Business International Poetry Book and Pamphlet competition, leading to publication of the Smith|Doorstop pamphlet Majid Sits in a Tree and Sings (2018). A selection of her poems is included in the anthology New Poetries VII (Carcanet, 2018). She is M3C postdoctoral Cultural Economy Engagement Fellowship at NTU.

We will be joined by Michael Schmidt, who set up Carcanet in 1969 and has run it ever since.

This event is free, let us know you are coming by emailing
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Monday, 9th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Nicola Monaghan - Nottingham crime fiction launch

Nicola Monaghan celebrates her wedding anniversary with the launch of her new book  as Niki Valentine. It’s set in Nottingham, over on Cliff Road, just the other side of Broad Marsh centre (in fact, the area formerly known as Narrow Marsh).

“Hardened by ten years on the murder squad, DNA analyst Doctor Sian Love has seen it all. So when she finds human remains in the basement of her new home, she knows the drill. Except this time it’s different. This time, it’s personal… A page-turning cold case investigation.”

Nicola Monaghan writes under her own name and as Niki Valentine. She teaches creative writing at De Montfort University.

We don’t often invite people to wedding anniversaries, at least not when human remains are involved, but sometimes we make exceptions. Come and join us.

Free, refreshments provided. Let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 12th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Primo Levi, with Ian Thomson

On 11 April 1987, the Italian writer Primo Levi fell to his death in the house where he was born. More than forty years after his rescue from a Nazi concentration camp, it now seemed that Levi had committed suicide. Levi’s account of Auschwitz, If This Is A Man is recognised as one of the essential books of humanity. No other work interrogates our recent moral history so incisively or conveys more profoundly the horror of the Nazi genocide. Written with great urgency to bear witness, the book put Levi among the foremost writers of our time.

Ian Thomson spent over ten years in Italy and elsewhere researching and writing about Levi. He traced the daughter of Levi’s German superior at Auschwitz along with scores of other witnesses. New light is shed on Levi’s recurring depressions and new information is unearthed regarding the writer’s premature death. A witty, resilient man, Levi had suffered dark moods long before he deported. The suicide of his grandfather, niney-nine years earlier, is chronicled for the first time. Thomson unravels the strands of a life caught between the factory and the typewriter, family and friends.

Ian Thomson is senior lecturer in creative non-fiction at the University of East Anglia

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Monday, 16th December
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves open book group discusses the Booker prize winner, well, one of them...

I guess the Booker judges did not have us in mind when they decided to share first prize between Margaret Atwood for The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other as our December book group was to be on the Booker winner, whatever that was…

Well, we can’t assume everyone has time or wishes to read both, so we are going for…. Girl, Woman, Other.  Bernardine Evaristo’s novel comprises the stories of twelve Black women, of different ages, sexualities and experiences. Come let us know what you think.

We don’t mind how you source the book, but in the lead up to the event we offer 15% off book group books. Our book group is quite open – you can attend one meeting only, every now and again or every single one.  There’s a short introduction followed by a discussion.

Free, refreshments included. Let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Monday, 27th January
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves' open book group - Discourse on Colonisation, by Aime Cesaire

The short essay, Discourse on Colonialism was first published in French in 1955 and influenced a generation of scholars and activists in the liberation struggles in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Twenty years later, when published in English, it inspired a generation engaged in the Civil Rights, Black Panther and anti-war movements.

This session is introduced by Deanne Bell from Nottingham Trent University, who is part of the “What is Decoloniality?” project.

Five Leaves open book group discusses fiction and non-fiction, and is open to all to either attend one particular book discussion, come every now and again, or come every time!

Book group books are available in advance at 15% discount, but we don’t mind how you source the books. All we ask is that you read the book in advance and take part in the discussion.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 30th January
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Clever Girls: Autoethnographies of Class, Gender and Ethnicity

Do join us to launch Clever Girls, with editor Jackie Goode and contributors Sarah Ward, Nell Farrell and Panya Banjoko

This collection by three generations of women from predominantly working-class backgrounds explores the production of the classed, gendered and racialized subject with powerful, engaging, funny and moving stories of transitions through family relationships, education, friendships and work.  The collection illustrates the potential of autoethnography as research method and creative practice to illuminate the commonalities of experiences of growing up as ‘clever girls’ and to sound a call to action against inequality and discrimination.

We will have copies of Clever Girls available at a very special discount tonight and in advance of the meeting.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Sunday, 2nd February
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Afternoon tea with Bertie

The philosopher and political activist Bertrand Russell died fifty years ago today.

We will celebrate his life with afternoon tea (something he favoured) with a talk on Russell, emphasising his connections to Nottingham.

Speaker: Tony Simpson (Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation), who will be joined by Tom Unterrainer (also BRPF) who will talk about why Russell is worth reading today.

Tickets: £5 including tea and cake, and a complementary copy of The Spokesman journal – a special issue devoted to Bertrand Russell

Let us know you are coming on

Here’s Bertie with James Baldwin, and a slightly more extravagant tea than we might be offering!

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 25th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Geoff Nicholson in conversation

Geoff Nicholson will Nicholson will be in conversation with Nottingham writer and Nottingham Trent lecturer David Belbin. Nicholson,  Sheffield-born, was until recently a resident of Los Angeles. He will be talking about his seventeen, idiosyncratically satirical novels, from Street Sleeper through to the recent The Miranda, whose subject matter – a man who walks a thousand miles in his back yard – links to his best known non-fiction, Walking in Ruins and The Lost Art of Walking, which he will also read from and discuss. His ‘Hollywood Walker’ blog is at

This event is organised by Nottingham Trent Univesity Creative Writing Hub

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


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 4th June
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
A People's History of Tennis, with David Berry

Tennis is not the first sport that comes to mind when you think of socialism and sport, but between the wars there were masses of workers’ tennis clubs, set up in opposition to what was seen as a middle-class sport, with an annual competition sponsored by the TUC. These faded, postwar, but other issues arose within the sport, often to do with gender, sexuality and race. There were campaigns for equality in prize money and tennis players from Arthur Ashe onward literally changed the face of the game. In recent times many prominent women tennis players were out lesbians at a time it was difficult to be out, particularly in sport.

David Berry is a writer and a journalist, and has played tennis since the age of eleven

Entrance: £4 (£2 students), includes refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham