We are very pleased to announce that the London Radical Bookfair 2020 will be held at Goldsmiths University on Saturday 27 of June.
We are sad to announce that despite our best efforts the London Radical Bookfair will not be taking place in 2019. This is primarily down to the fact the main hall at Goldsmiths University will be undergoing some essential repairs throughout the year. All being well we will return to the venue in June 2020.
Despite not going ahead this year, we will be organising a range of other events:
-The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award and the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing will both be going ahead as usual, with award ceremonies taking place in seperate locations. Please visit the respective website for details.
-A decentralised Anarchist Festival will be taking place across the UK from Friday 31st May-Sunday 2nd June 2019. A great chance to get involved and set up your own events:
And planned for November 2019 will be a Campaigning Conference that hopes to bring together under one roof the broadest range of grassroots campaign groups. Look out for that.
Hope to see you at one of the above or else at the bookfair in 2020!
A massive thank you to everyone who came down and took part in the LRBF 2018 and made it such a great event. We’ll be back in 2019, and plans are already afoot for expanding the fair. Hope to see you again and till then, keep supporting radical bookshops, bookfairs, publishers, zine makers and campaigns.
On 2nd June 2018 the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) will be holding the 6th London Radical Bookfair, and also celebrating the 7th Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing. These are grassroots projects: carried out with no corporate sponsorship* and with the work done voluntarily by a small group of people working in radical bookshops. It can be exhausting, but its worth it.
There are several key motivations for the effort: to promote radical books and the ideas within them, to create a welcoming space that brings new people into contact with our politics, to have common traditions that belong to our collective movements, and to have moments where like-minded people can come together in a united cause. In a virtual and fragmented world this last aspect becomes increasingly important.
Although the ARB’s activities were forged in the last decade, we are carrying the baton from the work done by our previous incarnation, the Federation of Radical Booksellers, out of which many bookfairs arose, including the London Anarchist Bookfair, International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books and the Socialist Bookfair. Time shows that these projects are fragile. Reliance on voluntary work and public good will keeps us independent but vulnerable.
At a time when so much energy is being spent trying to reclaim the Labour party from privatisers and neoliberals, it is particularly important not to forget our grassroots activities and institutions.
Radical bookfairs and bookshops are fragile, yet despite set backs there are reasons to be hopeful. Many new radical bookshops have opened in recent years, and a whole host of, primarily anarchist, bookfairs have sprung up around the country. But these activities happen against the odds and against the logic and pressures of market forces.
The point of all this is to say that radical bookshops and radical bookfairs cannot exist without your solidarity and support. We hope to see you on June 2nd: spread the word!
*We thank the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust for the seed money that allowed us to launch the London Radical Bookfair and book awards, Ross Bradshaw and the GFTU for donating prize money towards our book prizes in previous years, and Housmans Bookshop for their continued support.
The London Radical Bookfair, now in its 6th year, is an annual celebration of radical and progressive bookselling and publishing in the UK. Organised by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, it provides a unique opportunity for the reading public to come together with the best of Britain’s radical booksellers and publishers.
The bookfair aims to create a stimulating and inspiring environment: we invite you along to explore the latest debates, literature and campaigns, and to attend the Bookfair’s free programme of talks. We particularly welcome those who are discovering radical politics for the first time.
Spectrum of literature
The London Radical Bookfair is a broad church that brings together a variety of traditions within radical and alternative politics, and hopes to make them accessible to a wider audience. You will encounter a wide range of radical literature – books, pamphlets and magazines that contain different ideas and political positions. We ask stall holders and bookfair guests to engage with each other in a spirit of good faith.
The Bookfair runs on the enthusiasm and commitment of a small group of volunteers and the strength of mutual respect between our stallholders, speakers and visitors. If an individual acts in a way that is disruptive, abusive or oppressive, please report the matter to the information desk at the main doors and they will in turn alert an organiser. Organisers cannot be expected to immediately adjudicate on the spot over disagreements, but we can promise that any dispute will be dealt with in a patient and non-aggressive manner.
Filming and photography
The Bookfair will have an official photographer present on the day, particularly to document the awards ceremonies for the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing and the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. If you do not wish to be photographed please let the photographer know. Filming is not allowed without prior agreement from the Bookfair collective.
All of our stalls have been booked and we will be announcing the list of stall holders very soon. This year’s event has more than 80 stalls showcasing the best in radical publishing.
The bookfair will also have a free programme of talks, workshops and panels featuring the shortlisted authors of the Bread and Roses Prize for Radical Publishing and the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award.
Please feel free to use the hashtag #LRBF2018 and tag the bookfair on Twitter and FaceBook. Our Twitter handle is @ARBRadbookfair.
Sharing the FaceBook event helps to spread the word.
Save the date for the London Radical Bookfair 2018! This year we will be celebrating the fair on Saturday 2nd of June. The fair will be held for the third year running at Goldsmiths University, South East London. More details to follow soon.
In 1979, Conservative central office received a fawning letter requesting a high-quality photo of the then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Unbeknownst to those who duly sent it, the black and white photograph was incorporated in the poster shown below.
In one simple image, Thatcher’s political duplicity towards women had been laid bare for all to see. This image, titledTough! is just one of the many familiar posters created by the See Red Women’s Workshop, a grassroots feminist collective established in 1974 in London lasting into the early ’80s. The aim of the group was to dismantle pervasive patriarchal attitudes towards gender, race and class. Like much feminist art of the ’70s, the group produced posters, illustrations, cartoons and photographs which ‘deconstructed, questioned and exposed’ negative images of women, such as in advertising, subverting the oppressive messages contained within.
‘Don’t break down, break out’ and ‘So long as women are not free, the people are not free’ are symptomatic of the collective’s approach. These rallying cries were often accompanied with the simplest of designs, lending the posters a DIY aesthetic that in no way undermined them. Indeed, the collective’s slogans and images were intentionally straightforward and accessible yet very effective. As Sheila Rowbotham points out in her foreword to this publication, ‘It’s not actually that difficult to perplex with layer upon layer of words; to clarify abstraction with just a few constitutes a rare skill’.
Written by See Red members, this book catalogues the posters they produced and situates the workshop historically, socially and politically. Following the aesthetic principles of the collective, this edition, slightly larger than A4, is simply designed, with a rather utilitarian feel. The text is very accessible, a clearly written introduction describes the political context of the time, how the women got together and why they did so. The introduction also includes some contemporary correspondence and photographs of the workshop and its members at work. The book contains all of the See Red Women’s Workshop original screen prints and posters designed for radical groups and campaigns, including, for example, Greenham Common.
Ending the book with short biographies of a scattering of the collective’s members, the women write: ‘we had no eye for posterity’. Many of the original documents and photographs that record the workshop’s history have been lost. However, this book still manages to provide a thorough account of the collective’s work. The writers positively note the resurgence of interest in their output, from galleries, museums, and design festivals, but express the hope that it will be a source of inspiration for younger feminists. As many of the posters’ messages are still relevant, the images will no doubt strike a chord and inspire the current generation of feminists, especially those oriented towards DIY activism and zine production.
The See Red’s Women Workshop will be discussing their book in a free talk at the bookfair. No need to book, all welcome. Details here.