Report from the first London Radical Bookfair

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The first-ever London Radical Bookfair, hosted by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, was held at Conway Hall on Saturday, 11 May 2013. Hundreds of people packed into the hall to pour over radical literature on the 50 stalls, listen to talks from 20 guest speakers, and celebrate the writing shortlisted in 2 book prizesthe ARB’s  Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing and the Little Rebels’ Children’s Book Award.

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The Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing went to Hsiao-Hung Pai for ‘Scattered Sand’, a shocking account of the struggles faced by millions of impoverished and marginalised workers from China’s rural core to its industrial powerhouse cities, published by Verso. Guest judges Nina Power and Laura Oldfield Ford presented the prize to Verso’s Sarah Shin, who stepped up to receive it on behalf of Ms Pai, who owing to ‘flu could not be present.

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Sarah Garland discussing her book, ‘Azzi In Between’.

The first-ever Little Rebels’ Children’s Book Award went to Sarah Garland for ‘Azzi In Between’, a short graphic novel which details one family’s escape from war and their adjustment to life in a new country. The book is based on the author’s experiences among refugee families, and is published by Frances Lincoln. Guest Judge Wendy Cooling presented the award of £500 and a print by Guardian cartoonist Ros Asquith.

The wheels are already in motion to grow the event for next year and establish it as a permanent fixture on the radical publishing calendar. A big thank you to everyone who attended and helped make the event a success. Special thanks to Adam of I’ve Read That for the photos.

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The main hall was packed out for much of the day.

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As well as a cheque for £500 Sarah Garland was awarded a framed picture of ‘little rebels’ by Guardian cartoonist, Ros Asquith

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Standing room only for talks in the Brockway Room.

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Bookselling action!

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For that flagging blood sugar – cake from Veggies of Nottingham .

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Bread and Roses award nominee Danny Dorling presents the central thesis of his data-packed ‘No-Nonsense Guide to Equality’, that greater equality is good for everyone.

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Sal from Liverpool’s excellent radical community booksellers News from Nowhere, who celebrate their 40th anniversary next year.

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Freedom Bookshop’s Andy Meinke reported on the latest news of how the shop was getting back on its feet after being fire-bombing earlier in the year.

More photos at our Facebook page here.
A review of the day from Pluto Press here.
Thoughtful reflections as to what next for the book fair from Ross Bradshaw of Five Leaves publications here. As Ross points out, we most likely will be looking to expand the event into a larger venue next year.

Please do share your own thoughts and feedback by posting in the comments below.
See you next year!

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