"The books that help you the most are those which make you think the most.” Theodore Parker

ARB News


Welcome new ARB member Just Books of Belfast

Just Books has a history in Belfast that stretches back to the opening of the original Smithfield shop in June 1978 by the Belfast Anarchist Collective. While the shop closed its doors in June 1994 the Just Books Collective has continued to provide stalls at events such as grassroots gatherings, at Belfasts annual May Day celebrations and Belfast and Dublin Anarchist Bookfairs.

Like the original Just Books we are aiming towards something which is much more than just a bookshop. The original premises included a cafe and print workshop and provided a focal point for the collectives many activities until it closed sixteen years later in June 1994. Set up without any form of state subsidy or grant money was raised through running benefits, from interest free loans and donations from supporters. Just Books has always been run on a self managed basis with collective decision making at its core.

Since May 2016 we’ve been running a bricks-and-mortar shop, housed at the Belfast Solidarity Centre, 22 Berry Street, Belfast, BT1 1FJ.  Our website is www.belfastsolidarity.org (and there’s a facebook page linked from there too).  Our phone number is 028 954 30203, and our new webshop will be up-and-running soon.

Radical Bookfairs 2017

Derry Radical Bookfair – 28th January – derryradicalbookfair.wordpress.com

Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair – 18th February 2017 – www.southwalesanarchists.wordpress.com

Liverpool’s First Anarchist Bookfair – 1st April 2017 – https://liverpoolanarchistbookfair.wordpress.com

Cambridge Radical Bookfair – 29th April 2017 – https://www.facebook.com/events/671426069692438/ 

Dublin Anarchist Bookfair – April – www.wsm.ie/bookfair

WOWFEST – Radical Literature Festival – Liverpool – 1st-31st May http://www.wowfest.uk 

Nottingham Bread & Roses Bookfair – 13th May 2017 – http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/events/bread-and-roses-bookfair/ 

Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair –20th May 2017– www.sheffieldbookfair.org.uk

Dorset’s 1st Radical Bookfair – 3rd June 2017 – www.dorsetbookfair.wordpress.com

London Radical Bookfair –24th June 2017 – www.londonradicalbookfair.wordpress.com

Liverpool Writing on the Wall – no dates available – www.writingonthewall.org.uk

Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – 14th – 16th July 2017 – www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk

Swindon Anarchist Bookfair – 2017 dates tba, but was in September in 2016

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair – 16th September 2017 – www.bristolanarchistbookfair.org

Belfast Anarchist Bookfair – 2017 dates tba, but was in October in 2016 www.facebook.com/belfastanarchistbookfair

Sunderland Working Class Bookfair – 2017 dates tba

London Anarchist Bookfair – 28th October 2017  – www.anarchistbookfair.org.uk

Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair – 2017 dates tba, but in October in 2016

Birmingham – plans afoot for a new fair at the end of the year

Manchester and Salford – 2017 dates tba, but in December in 2016

Open letter to Simon & Schuster

Britain’s radical booksellers have been discussing Simon & Schuster publishing the work of Milo Yiannopoulos in the USA and the worldwide impact of the firm publishing someone known for views that have led 160 children’s writers in the USA, many published by the same firm, to say that his is “a voice of hate that stirs its followers to emotional, verbal and physical violence directed at anyone who disagrees or speaks to the contrary.” We are pleased that Simon & Schuster UK is not publishing the book.

We value Simon & Schuster’s publishing writers whose work has argued for a less violent society, in particular those children’s books which help their readers understand the situation of, for example, LGBT teenagers. Indeed, looking through our collective shelves, we find books in Simon & Schuster’s past and future programme taking a positive attitude towards women and towards minority groups, in this country and in the USA. Publishing Yiannopoulos risks damaging this work, tarnishes their reputation and raises the possibility of existing and future authors seeking alternative publishers.

Simon & Schuster is the publisher of the New York Times bestseller, Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint. We fear that the views of Yiannopoulos will lead to more such casualties.

Ross Bradshaw
On behalf of the ARB

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Radical Bookfairs in 2016

Radical Bookfairs in 2016

Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair – 20th February 2016 – www.southwalesanarchists.wordpress.com
Dublin Anarchist Bookfair – 16th April 2016 – www.wsm.ie/bookfair
Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair – 23rd April 2016 – www.sheffieldbookfair.org.uk
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair – 30th April 2016 – www.bristolanarchistbookfair.org
London Radical Bookfair – 7th May – www.londonradicalbookfair.wordpress.com
Liverpool Writing on the Wall – Throughout May – www.writingonthewall.org.uk
Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Sunday 17th July 2016 – www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk
Swindon Anarchsit Bookfair – 2016 dates tba, but in September in 2015
Belfast Anarchist Bookfair – 2016 dates tba, but was in October in 2015 www.facebook.com/belfastanarchistbookfair
Sunderland Working Class Bookfair – 2016 dates tba, but was in October in 2015
London Anarchist Bookfair – Late October – www.anarchistbookfair.org.uk
Nottingham – Bread & Roses – 2016 dates tba, but was in late October in 2015 – www.fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/breadandroses
Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair – 2016 dates tba, but in November in 2015
Manchester and Salford (sadly didn’t happen in 2015 due to venue problems, but they’re trying for 2016)

Do let us know if there is anything missing from the list.


The 2015 London Anarchist Bookfair will be on Saturday 24th October from 10am to 7pm
at a new venue:
Central Saint Martin’s, Kings Cross, N1
All the details here: http://anarchistbookfair.org.uk

Veggies joins the ARB

We’re very happy to welcome Veggies to the ARB family.

Veggies Catering Campaign provides food at almost any event
– from campaign rallies to community festivals, from family celebrations to green gatherings, offering tasty, wholesome snacks, as well as information exploring the links between diet, animal suffering and the environment.

Amongst their many catering gigs, they help feed hungry bookreaders at many a radical bookfair up and down the country.

Many consider Veggies to be one of the most ethical caterers on the circuit, with policies developed from 30 years experience in pure vegetarian catering. They are 3-times winners of the ‘Best Vegan Caterer’ Awards.

But as well as spreading the values of ethical eating, they also sell books wherever they are pitched up, as well as from their base at the Sumac Centre in Nottingham.

For more info please visit: http://www.veggies.org.uk

The London Radical Bookfair 2015 is on! After taking over Bishopsgate Institute last year the LRB, along with our partners at Alternative Press, are taking over 3 floors of a beautifully renovated Victorian warehouse at 47/49 Tanner Street near Tower Bridge.

For full details please check the website: https://londonradicalbookfair.wordpress.com.
Speaking at the Takeover will be shortlisted authors from the ARB’s book prizes, the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing and the The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award

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Black & Red Friday

In recent years some of the larger corporate UK businesses have started to emulate the US spending-spree that is Black Friday. Taking place on the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November), the date marks the beginning of the commercialised Christmas shopping season, and has even on occasion lead to violence as shoppers fight over discounted goods.

Amazon has made particularly good mileage out of Black Friday, and the media are more than happy to give Amazon free publicity each year, running articles about Black Friday and Amazon’s role within it.

But the public is waking up to the bad business practices of Amazon, and a new boycott Amazon campaign this year has been gaining real momentum. UK campaigns to boycott Amazon are not new though – Ethical Consumer officially called for a boycott last year, and ARB member bookshop Housmans has been calling for a boycott and documenting the reasons not shop with them for several years: check out the reasons not shop with them by clicking here: housmans.com/boycottamazon.php

This year the Alliance of Radical Booksellers is asking you to help spread the world about the alternatives to Amazon and support the alternative by way of your local radical bookshops. Please help by:

  • Sharing the Black & Red Friday Image
  • Sharing this post
  • Subvert the #BlackFriday hashtag with anti-Amazon and pro-ARB messages
  • Show support by using the #BlackAndRedFriday hashtag
  • Please buy your books from your local ARB bookshop

Let’s put the red into Black Friday!


New member: Dreadnought Books of Bristol

The ARB is delighted to welcome into the family Dreadnought Books, an independent second-hand bookshop based in Bristol. Specialising in history, with a particular focus on radical, social and labour history and also carrying a broad general stock catering to most interests.For more info please visit: http://dreadnoughtbooks.co.uk, and blogging here http://dreadnoughtbooks.blogspot.co.uk

125 St. George’s Road

New ARB member: Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC)

The ARB is delighted to welcome Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) to the alliance.

RISC is a Development Education Centre based in Reading and the aim of the bookshop is to support and promote the key principles of global citizenship, including social justice and human rights.

The book shop contains a unique collection of over 6,500 titles, all with a global focus. From politics around the world, to human rights, sustainability, and development issues covering a wide range of issues from many countries across the world.

We also stock contemporary and classic fiction from the Majority World’s best authors and a great range of children’s books,  exploring race, gender, human rights, from countries around the  world, written by authors from Africa, Asia,  South and Central America and the Caribbean.

For more information please visit the website here: http://www.risc.org.uk

and for the bookshop element here:   http://www.risc.org.uk/worldshop/books

London Radical Bookfair & Alternative Press Takeover 2014

The highlight of the ARB calender is coming around again!  This year we are joining forces with the Alternative Press Fair and taking over all 3 floors of the Bishopsgate Institute (opposite Liverpool Street station) to bring you something like 130 exhibitors, 20 guest speakers, workshops, art exhibitions and also the award ceremonies for the two ARB bookprizes, the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing and the Little Rebels Childrens Book Award. And as if that wasn’t enough Bishopsgate Institute are also hosting a series of political talks in the run up to the bookfair. Saturday May 1oth is the all important date. Please visit it the London Radical Bookfair website for all the necessary details: http://londonradicalbookfair.wordpress.com/

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New ARB member: Peterloo Bookshop

We’re very happy to announce a new ARB member, the Peterloo Bookshop based in Sheffield, but trading primarily online. Peterloo Bookshop is a not-for-profit project set up by Chris Connolly to make important second-hand political books available as cheaply as possible.

Not only are the books cheap but Peterloo offer a 50% rebate to anyone who sends the book back after reading it so it can be sold again. If you are in Sheffield and can collect the book rather than have it sent the prices are half price.

A complete list of books and prices is available on www.peterloo.net.  Do also get in touch with them if you have any books you would like to donate.


News from Nowhere’s 40th Birthday celebrations!

We are pleased to announce that this year ARB member News from Nowhere will be celebrating their 40th birthday. A not-for-profit worker’s co-operative, they are Liverpool’s leading radical & community bookshop. For more information please visit: http://www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk/

Below is a message from News from Nowhere with details of their celebratory events:

“We will be celebrating our 40th birthday this year! We have various events planned for the year (watch this space for updates) – but have two dates confirmed – please come along and help us celebrate!

Saturday 3 May 2014: ”WeBe40″ 40th Birthday Party
7pm til late

Join us to celebrate our 40th Birthday in style @ the Adelphi, Lime St, Liverpool City Centre. During the day there will be a Mayday event at the Adelphi organised by the Trades Council & Nerve, featuring speakers, workshops, music, stalls, discussion, banners & food. After a brief break to catch our breath, we’ll go headlong into party-mode with a stunning line-up of musicians – to be announced. Free – all welcome. Save the date! WeBe40!

Sunday 1 June 2014: ”WeBe40″ Radical Bookfair & Spaces of Dissent Forum
11am – 6pm

Celebrate our 40th Birthday with us @ the Bluecoat Arts Centre, School Lane, Liverpool City Centre. There’ll be a fantastic “WeBe40″ Radical Bookfair in the Hub with special offers, musical accompaniment from Stan the Harp and other musical offerings. In the Sandon Room, the Spaces of Dissent Forums will focus on Poetry as a Space of Dissent (12noon), Radical Bookselling/Radical Times (2pm) & Fiction as a Space of Dissent (4pm), with nationally-renowned novelists & poets – to be announced. Save the date! Free – all welcome.”

New radical bookshop ‘Five Leaves’ opens in Nottingham

We’re delighted to announce that a new radical bookshop has opened in Nottingham. Five Leaves Bookshop is  the brainchild of Ross Bradshaw, who runs the radical and literary imprint Five Leaves Publications. There’s a great interview here with Ross, conducted a couple of days before the shop opened. We wish him and his colleagues all the best.

In the last two years we have seen four new radical bookshops open: Calton Books in Glasgow, Hydra Books in Bristol, Just Books Collective in Belfast, People’s Bookshop in Durham, making Five Leaves the fifth. I think we can safely call that a revival!

Freedom Bookshop re-opens after arson attack

In the early hours of Friday morning, Freedom Bookshop was firebombed. Luckily no one was hurt and the fire was contained.

This is not the first time Freedom has come under attack. As Britain’s oldest anarchist bookshop (founded in 1866), Freedom has been somewhat on the frontline of anti-anarchist aggression from the start. This latest attack has many similarities with a firebomb attack carried out some twenty years ago by the neo-nazi group Combat 18.

Much stock has been damaged, as have the electrics. Freedom, like all radical bookshops, is run on a shoe string, and volunteer effort. Freedom don’t have insurance so will be launching an official appeal imminently. In the meantime cheques made out to Freedom Press are welcomed, and can be sent to the shop address. Follow on Twitter and on website for details. http://www.freedompress.org.uk Freedom are also asking for donations of anarchist books to help replenish their stocks.

The following is a report from Tim Gee on the clean-up that took place on Saturday, at which scores of well-wishers came to help out:

Down a small alleyway off Whitechapel High Street, a short walk from London´s financial district, sits Britain´s oldest radical bookshop. Founded by Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson in the 1880s, it has been a hub for the city´s counterculture ever since – a pick up point for campaign materials, a meeting space for activists and a printer of radical literature (including the OT) as well as selling books.

But my visit is not on a normal day. In the small hours of the previous morning an attacker had forced open a shutter, broken a window, and set the inside alight. Next to the broken glass is a shelf full of volumes on George Orwell – perhaps Britain´s most quoted opponent of book-burning [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_hole] . The fire and water leaves his image distorted and charred. The books are reduced to an inseparable block of pulp.

A throng of volunteers have gathered for the clear-up. Some are anarchists, others are showing solidarity with a group that has for so long shown solidarity with others. The atmosphere is somehow both cheerful and defiant. There is a human chain carrying salvageable books up the stairs. As there seems to be quite a queue forming, I join the other group, tasked with the soul crushing job of picking, cataloguing and disposing of the books that are damaged beyond repair.

We organise ourselves into sorters and cataloguers, the latter of whom playfully get called the bureaucrats. “Hey bureaucrat – I´ve got five copies of Thinking Housing´ here, can you note that down?”. “Bureaucrat, are you listening? Five Anarchy in Actions”. Becoming aware of the managerial system we are inadvertently mimicking we decide to change tack and buddy up, instead rotating roles. No more bureaucrat-worker divide. As it turns out, it´s more efficient too.

In a way it is a cheerfulness of necessity. The job of noting down books for the scrapheap is a sad one. The camaraderie is the only alternative to tears as we clock up three, four, five hundred volumes. The un-saveable ones are taken away in sacks.

In their place comes cake and tea, then hot food. A bike powered sound-system pumps out funk tunes. Then a cheer across the building as the electrics flicker in to life. There´s a call out: ´does anyone need a job?´ followed by a wry chuckle and a movement of the yet-more people who have recently arrived, in to the back yard to start cleaning shelves.

The pile finished I head upstairs. It is an altogether happier scene. Thousands of books are piled from floor to ceiling: Zapata of Mexico, Mutual Aid, a history of Anti-Fascist Action. Squeezed around the edge are tens of people, with standing room only, jay-cloths in hand, scrubbing, chatting, restoring and ruminating. Instead of the choking stench of ash that overwhelms the downstairs, the fresh odour of cleaning spray fills the air. One by one the books are lovingly relieved of their sooty second-covers and returned to their former glory. The items destroyed are just a fraction of those that remain.

Three hours later and the shop is transformed. Everything has been removed, the fire blackened walls are being cleaned, and staff predict they will open again by Monday. 60 volunteers with no discernible leader have pulled off an awe-inspiring display of self organisation.

If the attacker´s plan was to make important ideas disappear down the memory hole, it looks as if it has spectacularly backfired. As the clean-up operation shows, there is more than one way to encounter an idea. One is to read about it. But wholly more powerful is to experience it. And so it is today that written concepts are lived in reality and anarchy is demonstrated in action.

Tim Gee is an author and activist based in London. His essay collection ‘You Can´t Evict an Idea’ will be published by Housmans later this month.

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ARB launches new book prize: The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award

Last year the ARB set up the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing, administered by Housmans Bookshop. This independent prize for adult non-fiction literature ran for the 1st time in 2011, with the prize awarded in May 2012. The award is being run again this year – for more information, go to www.bread-and-roses.co.uk

The Bread and Roses prize is going ahead again this year alongside a new, parallel, radical fiction children’s book prize: The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. The prize will be administered by Letterbox Library on behalf of the ARB. The new Little Rebels Award is designed to recognise a rich tradition of radical publishing for children in the UK.

For this first year, the award will be restricted to fiction targeted at children aged 0-12. ‘Radical’ is defined widely to include books informed by inclusive/anti-discriminatory concerns or those which promote social equality or social justice.

Guest judges for the 2012 Little Rebels Award will be children’s author, Elizabeth Laird and Bookstart co-founder and editor, Wendy Cooling (see Guest Judges).

Prizes for both the Little Rebels and the Bread and Roses Awards will be presented at the ARB’s new, radical bookfair at Conway Hall, London, on May 11th 2013.

For more information please visit the Little Rebels website: http://littlerebelsaward.wordpress.com


ARB London Radical Bookfair 2013

On Saturday May 11th 2013, the ARB will be hosting a new radical bookfair, to take place in London’s Conway Hall. The idea behind the fair is to create an event which showcases the depth and breadth of radical publishing and bookselling in the UK. The ARB is composed of booksellers with a range of subject interests, including socialism, anarchism, peace/pacifism, sex & gender, environment, anti-racism and progressive children’s writing: we intend for the London Radical Bookfair to represent the full spectrum of radical publishing.

The event will culminate with the announcement of the winner of the ARB’s book prize for the best political non-fiction, The Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing. This year for the first time the Bread and Roses award will be complimented by a new prize, The Little Rebels Award, to be given for the best piece of fiction for readers aged 0-12 years.

As well as the bookfair in the main hall, we will be hosting talks in the Brockway Room throughout the day, with short-listed authors from the two book prizes presenting and discussing their work.

Entrance to the fair will be free for all. Food and drink will be available.

There will be lots of information about the fair and book awards to follow. An announcement for how to get involved in the fair, either as a stall holder or as a volunteer, will be made in early 2013. In the meantime if you would like to speak to someone about this event, please contact nik[at]housmans.com

Four new members join the ARB

The ARB is happy to announce that four new booksellers have just joined the alliance, representing the four corners of the UK. The Calder BookshopTwo of these shop are already well established: the Calder Bookshop in London is a beautiful shop in the shadow of the Old Vic, with its own adjoining mini-theatre, and a specialism in political theory and theatre books. http://www.calderbookshop.com/

The second established bookseller is an online retailer of environmental titles based in Bath, and can be found at eco-logicbooks.com.

They are joined by two newly opened shops: Calton Books in Glasgow http://caltonbooks.wordpress.com which will be concentrating on socialist titles, whilst the Just Books Collective in Belfast focus on libertarian and anarchist texts http://justbookscollective.org/.

As with all bookshops in the ARB, please support them, and if you are ever near by, be sure to pay them a visit and say hello.

Latest member of the ARB open new bookshop in Bristol

A group of people around the Bristol Radical History Group have opened up a new radical bookshop in Bristol called Hydra Books. Bristol has been without a good dissenting bookshop for a while now, and it’s great to see a new bookshop opening, especially in the face of the usual wave of bad news about the state of the booktrade. Whatsmore, the ARB is now one more member stronger!

They’re off to a flying start, with shelves stocked and a packed programme of events already booked up into the new year.  As part of the launch day event anarchist activist Ian Bone told tales of some lesser-known revolutionary figures from days gone by – there’s a nice write up of the event from Bristol blog Upside Down in Cloud here (from which the pictures in this post are taken – thank you). Ian Bone has written about it on his blog too, also well worth a click: All Hail The Hydra, and there’s even a video of Ian’s talk here, which includes an introduction by Roger, one of the shop’s founders :
So if you are ever in Bristol please do pay them a visit – or if you are in any position to help spread news of their existence then please do so.  Their website is  www.hydrabooks.org



Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing

The following is a piece about the Bread and Roses prize – which bookshops of the ARB will be awarding in the new year – originally published in the Morning Star.

“As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day/A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts grey/Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses/For the people hear us singing: ‘Bread and roses! Bread and roses!'”

These lines in a 1911 poem by James Oppenheim were turned into a song, Bread And Roses, celebrating the 1912 textile workers’ strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when a fifth of the US town’s population came out against a speed-up of production and a wage cut.

This was the first great industrial strike in the US, involving a largely women workforce who between them spoke 45 languages. The mill owners failed to divide the workers against each other in a strike for wages and human dignity.

Since then the term bread and roses has been used again and again by the left. It has provided the name for films, for workers’ co-operatives and magazines, while the Bread And Roses song has been sung on picket lines, benefits and celebrations and is part of the repertoire of many socialist choirs.

It seemed an obvious choice of a name for a new book prize – the Bread And Roses Award For Radical Publishing, now established by the Alliance Of Radical Booksellers.

Entries are coming in steadily for the first year’s award from radical publishers and from general publishers who also publish some radical books.

As yet the organisers are only looking for non-fiction, but that includes memoir, travel, documentary, reportage – anything that inspires, supports or reports on political and/or personal change, locally, globally or nationally and the books have to be accessible to the general reader.

Its aim is to raise the profile of radical publishing and writing in this country and, above all, to encourage people to read books by modern writers of the left.

There will be one winner, whose bank balance will benefit by the £1,000 prize, but the organisers will be promoting all the shortlisted books through the left press and the book trade.

It may not get as much publicity as the Booker Prize, but it should at least tell some people that radical publishing is alive and kicking.

Three judges will decide the first award. They come from across the spectrum. Michael Rosen is well known as a children’s poet and broadcaster and often speaks at demonstrations. Nina Power is one of a new generation of feminist writers, while Madeline Heneghan has a background in black politics and study and is the organiser of Liverpool’s Writing On The Wall Festival.

Books can be nominated up to the end of this year, after which a shortlist will be announced and the award will be presented around May 1 next year, appropriately, at the Bread And Roses pub in London – headquarters of the Workers’ Beer Company founded by the Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council.

The Bread And Roses Award comes during a modest revival of radical publishing and bookselling, with three new radical bookshops opening this year in Durham, south London and Bristol and all the radical bookshops, new and second-hand, coming together in the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, the main sponsors of the prize.

The response from radical publishers in particular has been very enthusiastic.

Anne Beech from Pluto Press is one of those excited by the Bread And Roses award.

“The prospect of an alliance of radical booksellers awarding a prize is an enticing one, given that they represent some of the most passionate and committed booksellers on the planet!”

Visit www.bread-and-roses.co.uk for more information.


We’re off!

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers is officially launched!

Alliance of Radical Booksellers

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers is a supportive community for Britain’s remaining radical booksellers.

Intending to pick up where the former Federation of Radical Booksellers left off in its mission to offer practical assistance and support to radical bookshops, the Alliance hopes to increase awareness of the unique offerings of local radical booksellers, as well as provide a support network for the radical bookshop community.

The Alliance currently includes the following bookshops:

* London-based booksellers 56a Infoshop, Active Distribution, Andrew Burgin, Book Bloc, Bookmarks, Freedom, Gays the Word, Housmans Bookshop, Letterbox Library, Newham Bookshop, and Soma Books
* Brighton’s Africa Book Centre and the Cowley Club
* Kendal-based bookshop Left on the Shelf
* Liverpool’s News from Nowhere Bookshop
* The People’s Bookshop in Durham City
* Leeds-based Radish Books
* October Books in Southampton
* Edinburgh’s Word Power Books
* …and Bristol’s soon-to-open Hydra

Nik Gorecki, co-manager at Housmans Bookshop, explains the motivation behind the formation of the Alliance:

“Independent bookshops have been on the back foot for many years now. Headline after headline tell of booksellers shutting up shop. Radical bookshops used to thrive in Britain, with most towns having at least one dissenting bookshop to call their own. We felt it was time to take a stand and turn the tide.”

“A key issue is awareness – many people just don’t realise that we’re out here – so making ourselves more visible is a key objective. But beyond that it’s also important for us to share expertise and provide support for one another. We don’t see each other as competition, but as complimentary parts of a wider whole. The politics of our shops binds us together.

“There are three members of the ARB who have either just opened, or are getting ready to open in the near future: Book Bloc in London’s New Cross, The People’s Bookshop in Durham and Bristol’s Hydra. Starting up a new bookshop can be a daunting process, and the Alliance has already proven to be a valuable resource to turn to for advice and encouragement.”

“We’re taking it one day at a time, but hopefully the ARB will become an ever-growing presence on the bookselling landscape. One of the primary initiatives we’re kicking off with is a new book award for political non-fiction: we’re calling it the Bread and Roses Award.”

Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing

In addition to fostering a community for booksellers, the Alliance is proud to announce the first annual Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing. With a prize of £1000 for the winning author to be announced on the 1st May 2012, the Bread and Roses Award aims to promote the publication of radical books, to raise the profile of radical publishing, and to reward exceptional work.

The Bread and Roses Award will be awarded by a panel of judges including children’s novelist and poet Michael Rosen, lecturer and feminist author Nina Power, and Festival Director of Liverpool’s annual Writing on the Wall Festival, Madeline Heneghan.

The Prize seeks to reward outstanding works of non-fiction published in 2011 that engage with socialist, anarchist, environmental, feminist and anti-racist concerns, and primarily will inspire, support or report on political and/or personal change. They may relate to global, national, local or specialist areas of interest.

The name Bread and Roses is taken from the slogan attributed to textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, who, at least in the song commemorating the event, struck “for bread, and for roses too.”

Ross Bradshaw, of Five Leaves Publishing and one of the trustees of the inaugural prize, says: “Radical publishing is going through a small renaissance, but we also want to recognise radical books published by mainstream publishers. This new award will raise the profile of radical publishing and writing in this country, reward good writing and encourage people to read books by left of centre writers.

The winner of the first Bread and Roses Award will be announced on the 1st May 2012, with the award being presented at Clapham’s Bread and Roses pub – an ideal venue, not just because of the shared name, but because of the pub’s connection with the Workers’ Beer Company and the Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union council, which founded the pub.

For all enquiries please contact:Nik Gorecki
Housmans Booksellers
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX
Ph: 020 7837 4473


Ross Bradshaw
Five Leaves Publications
PO Box 8786

0115 9895465 / 0115 9693597