Bookfair 2018 Photo Gallery

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.

 

Advertisements

Why Bookfairs are Still Important

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.

Statement of Values and Behaviour Policy

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.

London Radical Book Fair 2017-7775

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.

Respect

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

London Radical Book Fair 2017-7745

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.

We’re nearly there…

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.

Shortlisted books for Bread and Roses Award 2018

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!

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.

Photo Report from Bookfair 2017

Thanks to stall holders and guests alike at the London Radical Bookfair 2017. We certainly had a wonderful time and hope you did too: the vibes were fantastic.

Here’s a selection of photographs taken by Asya Gefter of the bookfair. You can see the whole gallery here. Till next year!

Free talks at the Bookfair: See Red Women’s Workshop

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.
Tough
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’.
see_red_opt
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.

Guided Walk at the Radical Bookfair

Deptford and New Cross in S.E. London have long and surprisingly radical histories which have played a central role in English life: e.g. from the so-called <Peasants Revolt> 1381 to the deadly New Cross Fire (1981) which led to UK’s largest ever Civil Rights demonstration.

For centuries Deptford was the headquarters of English colonialism (Raleigh, Frobisher, Drake etc.). The neo-baroque Deptford Town Hall (1905) was built to celebrate the area’s maritime grandeur which by then had come to an end; its iconography offers an opportunity to deconstruct that problematic past. Goldsmith itself has produced some outstanding figures in art and culture e.g. Malcolm McClaren who began his career as a promoter here.

Goldsmith was at the heart of many radical protests e.g. the Battle of Lewisham 1977 where the violent Far-Right, National Front, were massively outnumbered and defeated. 5000 police outnumbered both sides. Ray is presently writing a new book (‘ The Last Queen of Scotland’) and play about the Scot & civil rights activist Kath Duncan. She played a central role in the Battle of Deptford Broadway (1932) which played a big part in the formation of the NCCL (Liberty’s predecessor).

Fittingly Deptford is one of the locations in the UK where historical sites are keenly contested,

Experienced guides Ray Woolford and Tim Gluckman will lead the walk.

Ray Barron Woolford, lifelong community & political activist, broadcaster and author ‘Deptford’ (a radical history); as founder of UK largest independent food bank, wrote ‘Food Bank Britain’. Ray is a successful social entrepreneur who has won awards for his work on housing & green energy, as well as writing on food, poverty & social justice,

Tim finds exploring history, architecture and local environment etc. adds to his pride in being – like Ray – a local resident

The walk starts at 3pm and should finish around 5.15pm; suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and people with limited mobility. The eventbrite link will be posted shortly.