Independent Booksellers' Week

Interviews, Tips & Ideas

Independent Booksellers' Week

Indie Booksellers' Week is gradually taking off with over 400 indies taking part. Our own involvement is modest because it clashes with Nottingham Refugee Week and Lowdham Book Festival (where we organise the last day). See below for our shop event in Refugee Week and other things over the next few days

But we do have twenty sets of FREE books from Pluto, Verso and Zed, wrapped in a neat tote bag featuring Rosa Luxemburg. We will start giving these away on request - first come first served - on Saturday. The books are all political so will suit certain/many of our customers but not all! Ask if you want a set, from Saturday until the pile has gone.

During the week Verso, Pluto and Zed will have features on a different radical bookshop each day, including our "radical reads". As yet we are not sure which will be our day, but our set of five radical reads appears at the end of this newsletter.



Special publications for IBW

Publishers are increasingly offering special publications for the Week, in this case books exclusively available at indies for three months. We are promoting Off the Shelf: a celebration of bookshops in verse, edited by Carol Ann Duffy (Picador, £10) not least as one poem by Jacky Kay is entitled 'Silver Moon', with Jackie remembering her own early days reading Black and Feminist books from that shop and others mentioned in the poem. Our new worker - see below - will be particularly pleased with this poem as she used to work at Silver Moon. The second is The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane (Penguin, £2.50), a fine little essay about the resonance of reading and how reading has shaped his life. Proceeds from the book go to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station.

Monday, 20th June

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


 Imminent bookshop events - and a visit from Liz Lochhead

Refugee Week - Women's Cultural ExchangeWCE Pic

Amy Manktelow, from Nottingham Trent University presents:

'The current political landscape and the refugee ‘crisis’: a commentary from the Left’. This will be co-presented with readings from the refugee group, Women’s Cultural Exchange. Followed by Q&A.

Thee will also be a buffet from WCE featuring international dishes.



Tickets: £5.00. Please book in advance (to help with catering) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All proceeds go to Women’s Cultural Exchange


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham



Thursday, 23rd June

7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


"True Moon Tales", with Iwan Kushkatrue moon

True Moon Tales are Half Truth Tales – welcome to the land of myth and true stories of what never happened!


In a highly atmospheric blend of story and music, Iwan Kushka presents an evening of poetic flight into the collective intelligence of the old tales. Expect journeys into the Underworld, shamanic dismemberment, blood and love, death and rebirth, dark and light…


In association with Tales From Two Cities


Tickets for this event are £7 adults/ £5 Students.


Available from Sophie Snell on Tel. 01332 840007 or email


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham







Education in Britain: how did it come to be like this? by Professor Ken Jones

education in BritainDiscussing the new edition of his book Education in Britain: 1944 to the Present, Ken Jones reflects on the history of education over the last seventy years – a history that is shaped by political programmes and systems of regulation, but also by the ambitions and inventiveness of those who have worked and studied in schools and universities.


Tuesday, 28th June

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm


He weighs up the achievements and the costs of educational reform, and asks whether the rich history of educational practice still provides resources to think about alternatives in the present day.


To register your attendance, please go the Eventbrite registration or reserve your place by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Venue: Room A32, Dearing Building, Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham


Thursday, 30th June

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm





Cities in the North - Book LaunchCities of the North

Cities of the North is the latest book from Jones the Planner (Adrian Jones and Chris Matthews) based on the Jones the Planner blog. The book is illustrated in colour throughout by Chris the Photographer while Adrian the Writer provides the text. Open to all.


Admission for this event is Free and refreshments will be available.


Booking is recommended. To attend this event, please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham


Thursday, 7th July

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm





Liz Lochhead - Poetry Reading

Marking her retirement as Maker (Scotland’s Poet Laureate),

Liz Lochhead makes a welcome return to Nottingham. She will be reading poems written during her five year spell as Makar, and earlier, unpublished material. Her poems encompass a life enriched with people, places and relationships, which she describes with humour and empathy, remembered with joy and poignancy.


“An inspired presence in British poetry – funny, feisty, female, full of feeling” Carol Ann Duffy


A Five Leaves Bread and Roses event in association with English, Culture and Media, School of Arts & Humanities, Nottingham Trent University


Tickets: £7.00 (£5 concessions) from Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH, 0115 8373097


Venue: Room LT5, Newton Building, Nottingham Trent University, City Campus, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham  

Our garden in the alley

Our little garden is expanding nicely with some climbers, sweet peas, ferns, another acer, new geraniums, some nicer pots, a wild strawberry plant and more colour and a red rose.

Thanks to the guerilla gardeners of Beeston: Daphne Bone,Sheila and Kristian Ravnkilde, Rosie Hepple, Christine Rimmer, Lindsay Buckell, David Gurney and Peter Bone!


Latest from Five Leaves Publications

Cities of the North by "Jones the Planner" - Adrian Jones and Chris Matthews (both customers) - has arrived. This has to be one of the most attractive books we have published (an unusually immodest remark for us!) with an embossed cover and colour illustrations on virtually every page. The cities in question are Manchester, Liverpool, Wakefield, Hull, Stockport, Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford and Newcastle. Jones the Planner brings you the best and worst of local planning and architecture.

Copies are £13.99 and you would be welcome at the book launch at 7.00pm on Thursday 30th November (let us know you are coming).

We have just sent to press John Clare: The Tresspasser by John Goodridge (another customer!) and R.K.R. Thornton. More on this next time.




Current best sellers

1) A Woman in the Queue, poetry from Jo Dixon (Melos, £5)

2) Harry's Last Stand, politics from Harry Smith (ICON, £8.99)

3) Corbyn: the strange rebirth of radical politics, by Richard Seymour (Verso, £12.99)

4) No Map Could Show Them, poetry by Helen Mort (Chatto - £10 - some signed copies still available)

5) Cities of the North, by Jones the Planner (Five Leaves, £13.99 - signed copies in stock)

6) That Precious Strand of Jewishness that Challenges Authority, by Leon Rosselson (Five Leaves, £4.00)

7) Over Land, Over Sea, poems for those seeking refuge edited by Kathleen Bell et al (Five Leaves, £9.99)

8) The Vegetarian, a novel by Han Kang trans. by Deb Smith (Portobello, £8.99) - the winner of the International Man Booker Prize

9) Goose Fair Night, poetry by Kathy Pimlott (The Emma Press, £6.50)

10) The Boy in the Mirror, a memoir of cancer and survival by Tom Preston (Valley Press, £7.99)

11) Detroit 67, the year that changed soul by Stuart Cosgrove (Clayton, £18) - Stuart will be coming to the bookshop later this year

12) "Hello, I'm Here": true stories of prostitution in Nottingham (POW, £4.99)



Staff changes

Sadly Matt Madej has left the bookshop team. He's been working largely on our events programme for most of the last year. Some of his ideas will continue - look out for our "music month" late in the year. Good luck to Matt in his final year at NTU! Hello to Jane Anger who is joining us. Jane previously worked at Leicester University Bookshop, as a trade rep and, back in the day, for Silver Moon, Jane lives in Leicester, which means we are also more able to do bookstalls over there.


Ron Morris

We have just heard that our customer Ron Morris died at the end of March after a year or so of illness. Ron was a great regular at the bookshop when he was well, as a customer and as an attendee at our events where he always had something interesting to say. Ron was also an active member of Nottingham Writers' Club and the self-confessed one-hit-wonder author of The Indomitable Beatie: Charles Hoare, CB Fry and the Captain's Lady (first published at The Captain's Lady), a book which sold remarkably well in its day.


Radical Reads

Nocilla Dream by Agustin Fernandez Mallo (Fitzcarraldo Editions, £12.99)

Forgive the cliché, but Mallo’s Nocilla Dream is not like anything you have ever read before. The book was born out of a combination of the author reading an article about a unique tree, a sugar sachet from a Chinese restaurant that had written on it Yeats’ verse ‘All changed, changed utterly: / A terrible beauty is born’ and the Siniestro Total song ‘Nocilla, que Merendilla!’ (Nutella, what a great snack!). An eclectic mix of influences which sets the scene nicely for what is to be found within the book. Combining factual information, popular culture references, fiction and poetry, Nocilla Dream is made up of 113 fragments which are smoothly woven together by the shoelaces of abandoned shoes hanging from the only tree to thrive for miles, in the middle of the North American desert roads (all will become clear to the reader). (EC)

“Hello, I’m here”: The True Stories of Nottingham’s Prostitutes (Hello, I’m here Project, POW & Platform 51, £5.00)

A raw and powerful collection of writing by people who are or have been involved with prostitution. It includes artwork, poetry and stories which reveal the hard reality of prostitution and drug use, and is told from the perspective of those who often lack a voice in society. A brave, striking collection of voices that demand to be heard. (EC)


Anarchy in Action by Colin Ward (Freedom Press, £7.50)

Though this was first published in 1983, Anarchy in Action, is still the best primer for people who want to know what anarchism is - even though some examples are not taken by people who are consciously anarchists. For Colin Ward it mattered only what people did rather than what label they stuck on themselves. All of Ward's examples are positive experiences of self-management with inspiration being the result of doing something for yourself and others. (RB)


Vida, a novel by Marge Piercy (Merlin Press, £13.99)

Vida was originally published in 1979 - I used to read the book almost every year. Piercy's novel is the story of one Vida Asch, whose opposition to the Vietnam War in American led to her having to go underground. Her story is loosely based on the Weathermen. There, on the run, she tries to keep her organisation together, staying in touch with the scattered remnants, but also retain her own sanity and relationships in a world cut off from the mainstream. (RB)


Cranks Recipe Book (Orion, £9.99)

When this was first published in 1982 (by Panther, in a mass-market paperback) vegetarians at last found a readily available cookbook with recipes that you could actually serve up to suspicious carnivores or at least make food that you yourself wanted to eat as opposed to had to eat. The Cranks restaurant itself is long gone (the brand is owned by Nando's!) but the Cranks Recipe Book is still out there. And the recipes don't need a dictionary and access to a celebrity chef's store cupboard to make. (RB)


Advance notices


Our July events are online but we are just adding a poetry gathering to celebrate Frank O'Hara's poetry on 27th June, 7.00, when invited poets will read their favourite Frank O'Hara poem


We are finally setting up a bookshop book group. The group will be open - you don't have to attend every meeting - and will be monthly. Our first meeting is at 7.00pm on 30th August when we will be discussing Marge Piercy's feminist utopia Woman on the Edge of Time, reprinted in August to celebrate its fortieth year.


Looking way ahead, Five Leaves will be three on 9th November. Not sure what we will be doing yet, but on 10th November we will have an evening event with Gillian Slovo. By the way, we're signing an extension to our lease here until spring 2019!