Date/Time Event
Wednesday, 6th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry from Ruth Shelton and Matthew Caley NOTE CHANGED DATE

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
Thursday, 7th November
7:00 pm
I Choose Elena, with Lucia Osborne-Crowley

(Note – this talk involves a discussion about sexual violence and trauma)

Aged 15 and on track to be an Olympic gymnast, Lucia Osborne-Crowley was violently raped on a night out. The injuries she sustained that evening ended her gymnastics career, and eventually manifested in life-long chronic illnesses, which medical professionals now believe can be caused by untreated trauma.

In a brilliantly researched and deeply affecting essay, Osborne-Crowley invites the reader/listener to join her on decade-long journey to recovery: from the immediate aftermath of the assault, through years of misdiagnosis, to the solace and strength she found in writers like Elena Ferrante.

The author’s investigations reveal profound societal failures – of law, justice, education and the healthcare system. An essential contribution to the field of literature on assault and trauma, I Choose Elena argues that it is only through empathy than we can begin to address the self-perpetuating cycle of sexual violence.


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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Friday, 8th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Sky Dance: Fighting for the Wild in the Scottish Highlands with John Burns

John Burns is a mountaineer, actor and writer.    For over 40 years John has walked and climbed the hills of Scotland whilst also making occasional trips to the Alps, the Pyrenes and the Canadian Rockies. An expert ice climber, he was also a member of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, and has taken part in numerous rescues in the Highlands. More recently he has rediscovered his love for remote bothies (isolated mountain shelters) and regularly visits the wilder places of his Scottish home. In his first two bestselling books, The Last Hillwalker and Bothy Tales, John D. Burns invited readers to join him in the hills and wild places of Scotland. In Sky Dance, his new novel, he returns to that world to ask fundamental questions about how we relate to this northern landscape – while raising a laugh or two along the way. Anyone who has stood and gazed at the majesty of the Scottish mountains will know this place and want to return to it. Now, as wild land is threatened like never before, it’s time we asked ourselves what kind of future we want for the Highlands.

Tickets: £4.00 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Sunday, 10th November
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
"My daddy was a Hamburger!"

Insiders/Outsiders is a year long project exploring the impact of German Jewish refugees on art and culture in Britain. Five Leaves’ previous contributions to this festival have been about art. In this talk, Jenny Swann, a local poet and publisher, starts from the home and family history – her late father being Walter Elkan, an economist who specialised in the developing economies of Africa who arrived here in 1938.

Jenny will explore what it meant to be a German Jewish refugee in Britain, trying to make your way in another language, cut off from your homeland, part of a community of exiles who were encouraged never to speak German in public, worried about those who were left behind…

This talk will include illustrations of archive material of the period, personal and public.

Free, tea and sachertorte (Austrian/German cake often served in bookshops and cafes, and popular with exiles!) provided.

Booking essential via as our capacity at this event will be lower than normal.


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Monday, 11th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Forgotten and Fantastical launch

We are pleased to invite you to the launch of volume five of this annual anthology of fantastical writing, recently seen at the national FantasyCon – the latest in the popular series of dark fairy tales for adults.

Contributors to this edition include Rosie Garland, Aliya Whitely and Angela Readman, together with a host of writers from this region. Edited by Teika Bellamy for Mother’s Milk.

Homemade fairy cakes will be on offer!

Full line up to follow.

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


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 12th November
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Irreplaceable - the fight to save our wild places, with Julian Hoffman

All across the world, irreplaceable habitats are under threat. Unique ecosystems of plants and animals are being destroyed by human intervention. From the tiny to the vast, from marshland to meadow, and from Kent to Glasgow to India to America, they are disappearing.

This illustrated talk is not only a love letter to the haunting beauty of these landscapes and the wild species that call them home, including nightingales, lynxes, hornbills, redwoods and elephant seals, it is also a timely reminder of the vital connections between humans and nature, and all that we stand to lose in terms of wonder and wellbeing.

Exploring treasured coral reefs and remote mountains, tropical jungle and ancient woodland, urban allotments and tallgrass prairie, Julian Hoffman traces the stories of threatened places around the globe through the voices of local communities and grassroots campaigners as well as professional ecologists and academics.

In association with Penguin Books.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
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
Notes to Self, with Emilie Pine

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
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.

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

We’re writing this in July, the day after the longlist has been announced, and we have no idea of the shortlist let alone the winner… but our last book group of the year will discuss the winner of this year’s Booker Prize, announced in October.

Since it is so near the unmentionable (certainly unmentionable typing in July), we might make the evening a bit special. Book the date.

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
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
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