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

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David Graeber’s ‘Debt: The First 5,000 Years’ wins Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2012

In the centenary year of the infamous Bread and Roses strike, the Alliance of Radical Booksellers is proud to announce the winner of the first annual Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing. David Graeber’s ‘Debt: The First 5,000 Years’ clinched the prize in the final hour, following a reported deadlock between the guest judges.

Nina Power making the announcement

Guest judge Nina Power announced the winner, saying that the judges all felt that this brilliantly researched book was “engaging, readable, relevant, motivated by a clear political will, and utterly indispensable, not only for understanding the terms of the world we live in, where they came from, but also for what we do about changing them”.

Although academic in its scope and scale, the judges commended Graeber for the quality of the language, and effort to make the ideas accessible and readily comprehensible.

Graeber’s book narrowly came through after judges struggled to pick a winner between it and Nicholas Shaxson’s ‘Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who stole the world’, which they commended for its thoroughness of research, and ‘usefulness’ in the current political climate.

Although based in London and holding the position of Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, David Graeber was unable to collect the prize as he is currently on a research trip in the United States. Bill Godber from Turnaround distributors collected the award and the prize money of £1,000 on his behalf.

Bill Godber accepting the prize on David Graeber's behalf

The winner was announced at a ceremony on International Workers’ Day, 1st May 2012, at the trade union-run Bread and Roses pub in Clapham.

The Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing aims to promote the publication of radical books, to raise the profile of radical publishing, and to reward exceptional work. Without being too prescriptive in defining ‘radical’, the shortlisted books are informed by 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. To be eligible books must have been published in 2011, and the author’s or editor’s primary residence
must be in the UK.

This year’s Bread and Roses award was judged by 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.

Tim Gee, author of the shortlisted book 'Counterpower', with friend.

Alex Nunns and Nadia Idle, editors of shortlisted book 'Tweets from Tahrir: Egypt's Revolution as it Unfolded, in the Words of the People Who Made it'

Nik Gorecki of Housmans Bookshop, guest judge Nina Power, and Mandy Vere of News From Nowhere bookshop.

The crowd go wild!

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One Response

  1. The prize may have been competitive but the sharing of bread afterwards was in the true spirit of cooperation! Thank you to all the wonderful authors, publishers and booksellers present and absent who keep movements for change buoyed and afloat with inspirational books. Long live Radical Bookshops!

    May 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

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