Date/Time Event
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
Wednesday, 10th June
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
No Modernism without Lesbians with Diana Souhami

The extraordinary story of how a singular group of women in a pivotal time and place – Paris – Between the Wars – fostered the birth of the Modernist movement.

Beach, Bryher, Natalie Barney, and Gertrude Stein. A trailblazing publisher; a patron of artists; a society hostess; a ground-breaking writer. They were all women who loved women. They rejected the patriarchy and made lives of their own – forming a community around them in Paris.

Modernism happened in Paris, and these women were Paris. Shocking, free, blatant, they weren’t just expats. They’d grouped together to create their own world, far from the restrictions of home. They were talented, often well-off, and lesbian. They answered to only themselves. Among them was Sylvia Beach, the American who set up the legendary Shakespeare & Co in 1919 and published Joyce’s Ulysses when nobody else dared to, as well as Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness which was burned in Britain. The shop became the unofficial meeting place of the Modernists.

Each of these four central women interacted with a myriad of others, some of the most influential, most entertaining, most shocking and most brilliant figures of the age. Diana Souhami weaves their stories into those of the four central women to create a vivid moving tapestry of life among the Modernists in pre-War Paris.

Diana Souhami is the author of Gluck: Her Biography, Gertrude and Alice, Greta and Cecil, The Trials of Radclyffe Hall (shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and winner of the US Lambda Literary Award), Wild Girls, the bestselling Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter (also winner of the Lambda Literary Award and a New York Times `Notable Book of the Year’), Selkirk’s Island (winner of the Whitbread Biography award), Coconut Chaos, Edith Cavell (winner of the EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book of the Year award), Murder at Wrotham Hill (shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association gold dagger for non-fiction) and the novel Gwendolen. She is a Rainbow List National Treasure.

£4.00 (£2.00 students) including refreshments, and redeemable against the book.

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 2nd July
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Welcome to the Rebellion, Star Wars as a mirror for contemporary politics, with Michael Harris

In the first book to present Star Wars as a mirror for contemporary politics, Michael Harris reveals Star Wars’ new Left roots.  Star War fans will recognise the title reference!

What does it mean that our most popular modern myth is a radical left story about fighting corporate authoritarianism? From its roots in the 1960s new left, Star Wars still speaks to millions of people today. By design, the saga mirrors our own time and politics. A real empire of corporate domination has arisen within weakened and corrupted republics. Now it threatens our existence on a planetary scale.

But, the popularity of Star Wars also suggests that if we tell the right stories, we can Welcome to the Rebellion many more people to fight for a better world…

Michael Harris is an independent writer and researcher with a focus on change, specifically the political, technological, social, cultural, economic, and institutional changes required to meet the challenges of the future. His work has been featured in national media including BBC News, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, and Prospect magazine, as well as many academic journals. He lives in the Far East.

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

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Sunday, 12th July
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Afternoon tea with Pablo

Join us to celebrate Pablo Neruda’s birthday!

Pablo Neruda was born on this day, in 1904 in Chile. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and died in 1973. He was a poet and political activist. Gabriel García Márquez once called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language”.


He was close to Allende, the elected leader of Chile who was overthrown and murdered in a coup by the armed forces.

Neruda’s best known work in the UK is probably Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

There will be readings in Spanish and English. Full programme to follow

Admission: £4.00 (£2.00 students) including tea and cake.

Booking essential on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Friday, 24th July
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Pre-Pride get together

You are invited to join us in marking Nottingham Pride Weekend, the day before the parade.

Bring along something to read out, a poem, a piece of prose – fiction or non-fiction by your favourite LGBT+ writer, in English or in any other language. Just let us know what you want to read so we can work out a programme. Contact us by email on

Or just come along to listen and celebrate 365 days of Pride a year (OK, 366 this year)

Free, refreshments included. Booking essential on


Check out the images and video of last year’s parade by our friends Richard Warren and Phil Revels:

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 6th October
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry and memoir from Clare Best and Robert Hamberger

In the first half Clare and Robert will read from their Waterloo Press poetry collections, Each Other and Blue Wallpaper. Clare’s poems are of love and its endurance while Robert also writes love poems, his signature being the sonnet. He was also published by Five Leaves in our poetry publishing days!

Clare’s memoir is The Missing List (Linen Press), of which Andrea Samuelson wrote:

... In the process of caring for her father during his terminal illness Clare Best finds herself remembering the abuse she suffered… She hopes he will acknowledge what he did so that they can both achieve some closure before he dies. The story is gradually revealed through scraps of information – old ciné films, imagined lists of rules, conversations…                                         


In 1841 the ‘peasant poet’ John Clare escapes from an asylum in Epping Forest and walks home to Northamptonshire. In 1995, with his life in crisis and his own mental health fragile, Robert decides to retrace Clare’s route along the Great North Road… Part memoir, part travel-writing, part literary criticism, A Length of Road is an exploration of class, gender, grief and sexuality through the author’s own experiences and through the autobiographical writing of Clare.


Admission: £4.00 (£2.00 students) including refreshments. Book via please.


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 7th November
10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Nottingham Radical Bookfair

Mark the date!

25 tables of books, eight free talks, cafe on site

Last year at least 400 people came to our third radical bookfair, many staying most of the day to attend the talks by local, regional and national speakers.  We already have stall bookings from Northern Herald Books, Nottingham People’s History, Sparrow’s Nest, Ex-Libris, Motts and Derbyshire Labour History Society and the Anarchist Communist Group!

Please get in touch if you are interest in a stall.

Venue: Mechanics Institute,  3 North Sherwood St, Nottingham NG1 4EZ.

The Mechanics Institute rooms are full accessible.

Free, not tickets or booking required.

Last years talks concentrated on class, labour history and race with speakers including Priyamvada Gopal, Animik Saha, the group behind Prison: a survival guide and Five Leaves’ own Andrew Graves. Previous radical bookfairs have included talks on diversity in children’s picture books and travels in Eastern Europe! What will we do in 2020?

Speakers in 2020 include Dana Mills on Rosa Luxemburg

Venue: Nottingham Mechanics Institute, Nottingham
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