Report from the first London Radical Bookfair


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.


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.


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.


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


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


Standing room only for talks in the Brockway Room.


Bookselling action!


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


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.


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


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!


Speaker line-up confirmed

The London Radical Bookfair will showcase the best radical booksellers and publishers. As well as a chance to buy radical literature there will also be talks throughout the day from shortlisted authors from the Alliance of Radical Booksellers two book prizes, the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing and The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award.


Confirmed speakers include:

  • Federico Campagna, Emanuele Campiglio, Saul Newman, Mark Fisher and guest from SolFed on ‘What We Are Fighting For’
  • Danny Dorling on ‘Equality’
  • Donny Gluckstein on ‘‘A People’s History of the Second World War: Resistance Versus Empire’
  • Eveline Lubbers on ‘Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark: Corporate and Police Spying on Activists’
  • Hsiao-Hung Pai on ‘Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants’
  • Daniel Poyner on ‘Autonomy: The cover designs of Anarchy 1961-1970′
  • Dan Swain on ‘Alienation: An Introduction to Marx’s Theory
  • Wendy Cooling leads a panel discussion on progressive children’s writing with short-listed authors from the Little Rebels Book Award.
  • Guest judges Nina Power, Ken Livingstone, Laura Oldfield Ford.

For more information on stallholders and speakers please click here.

A new radical bookfair for London

On Saturday May 11th 2013, the Alliance of Radical Booksellers will be hosting a new 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 complemented 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 very soon. In the meantime if you would like to speak to someone about this event, please contact nik[at]