The 2021 Anarchist Bookfairs List

In 2020 real-life anarchist bookfairs were, sadly, largely out of the question and very little happened which wasn’t virtual, including in Dundee, Edinburgh and London which ran extensive showings. This trend continued into the first half of the year, with the recent Edinburgh Anarchist Feminist Bookfair putting on an excellent event on May 29th-30th (viewable here, and recommendable for podcast-type listening if you’re into that sort of thing).

As the summer goes on however and, to a limited degree, “normality” returns, several bookfair groups have tentatively pitched the possibility of physical events happening in the late summer or early autumn, with the hope being that warm weather will help protect from lockdowns. This does of course mean a certain foreshortening of the bookfairs “season”, and in some cases a smaller-scale showing, but gives us just enough excuse to do a bijou version of our annual Freedom roundup! As many of the usual suspects are yet to set a date these are presented in alphabetical order, to be changed up as and when more info is forthcoming. If you’ve been left out let us know and we’ll add you!

Note: All details are subject to change, be it due to unforeseen pandemic problems or because sometimes stuff goes wrong. (TLDR: Bradford Sept 4th, London Sept 11th, Newcastle May 11th 2022)


Bradford

Website | Facebook event | Twitter

September 4th
At the 1 in 12 Club
11am-4pm

This year will see a reduced number of stalls due to social distancing, with a planned talk by Michael O’Brian about his book and time in a call centre and the usual mix of poetry/performance art. This will be followed by an evening of Anarchist Games, then to wrap the evening off there will be a DJ Request Show with snacks and chat with more informal games (do bring your own).

Stalls: Members Bar 2nd/Middle Floor: Anarchist Communist Group, 0161 Festival, PM Press/AK Press/Active Distro, Punk Ethics/No Sweat, Pirate Press, Cubesville, UTP Radio, Forged Books, Tyneside Anarchist Archive, Leeds Solidarity Federation

Food: Will be available in the 1 in 12 Cafe from 11am til about 3pm.

Talks/Poets/Performance: 12.30-4pm in the Café/Library 3rd/Top Floor.

Games Evening followed by DJ request show: 4.30-9.00pm in the Café/Library:

  • Scheduled Games Competition – £2 entry fee or a donation (all money goes to the club!) — prizes for winners. Run by Pirate Press and hosted by Tatty Hoggarth (check out their stall)! Includes Bingo, Cluedo and Top Trumps.
  • 7pm to 9pm: DJ Jim request show with snacks, chat and good times.

Bristol

Bristol Radical History Festival
Date TBC at the M Shed
Website

The Bristol Radical History Festival is hoping to go ahead in 2021. Their earlier date of May 15th didn’t happen as the venue was still shut, but they have two other potential dates booked in of September 18th or November 20th, depending on the extent to which the venue is open. They’re hoping to run the Festival based on two themes originally lined up for 2020:

  • State and private surveillance of labour and social movements (1792 to now)
  • Hidden histories of post-war mainland Britain (1945-51)

Dorset

Website | Facebook  | Contact: dorsetbookfair at riseup.net

The folks down in Dorset have unfortunately lost use of their favoured venue due to renovations rendering it unsuitable for an all-day event, but if they can find a good place to set up shop are fully intending to do so with an assortment of stalls and talks. They’re asking anyone who can help out with ideas for a space, anywhere in the county is doable but it needs to be:

  • 600 quid or less.
  • space for 20 plus 6′ tables.
  • At least one separate meeting room, ideally two.
  • Cooking facilities.
  • Disabled access.
  • Car parking.
  • Able to host an afterparty (outside perhaps) there or very close by.

London

Anarchist Bookfair in London and Antiuniversity
September 4th-11th

LAB: Website | Facebook  | Twitter  | Contact
Anti-Uni:  Website | Facebook | Contact: antiuniversitynow at Gmail.com

The Antiuniversity and the Anarchist Bookfair in London are joining forces to bring together a week-long Antiuniversity Festival from the 4th to the 10th of September, followed directly by the Anarchist Bookfair on the 11th of September. To book a stall or a workshop for the Bookfair day, please get in touch with the Bookfair Collective early, as spaces might be limited. The physical event has been scaled down in order to be Covid responsible, and depends on the ongoing situation.

Antiuniversity events will be programmed in the usual way, directly through the Antiuni website. Submissions will be open between 3-24 July and the programme will go live in early August. The entire festival, 4-11 Sept, will take place in-person (when possible) and digitally. Please check out the Antiuni and the Bookfair websites for more information.


Manchester

Website | Facebook | Twitter

The current update on is short and sweet, TBC, but it comes with a nice poster!

“We don’t know what form the Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair 2021 will take, or where or when it will happen but we are are planning things! Watch this space!”


Newcastle

May 21st 2022 at the Star and Shadow Cinema

Facebook | Contact: newcastleanarchistbookfair [at] protonmail.com

Winner of the planning ahead award, this won’t be until next year but good to see they’ll be back at their perennial home! Further details TBC, and they’re looking for folks to help put the whole shebang together so send them a message.


Nottingham

(usually organised through Five Leaves Bookshop, Facebook | Contact: [email protected]).

While unconfirmed as yet, an organiser says it’s most likely to happen, Covid willing, towards the end of the year. In previous years it’s been held at the Mechanics Institute.


Nothing Announced (yet) …

Aberdeen: Last year’s virtual showing was in November, so if it does happen it may not be until towards the end of the year.
Keep an eye on their Facebook for any announcements.

Liverpool: In more usual times this would be held at the Black-E in April, but there’s as yet nothing to report this year
Website | Facebook | Contact

London: Pre-Covid the London Radical Bookfair was the Summer child to the Anarchist Bookfair’s Autumn grumbler, but things are yet to pick up where they left off. According to one of the organisers it’s almost certainly going to be a 2022 affair.
WebsiteFacebook 

Bristol (Anarchist): Nothing thus far. 
Facebook

Glasgow: The bookfair had in 2019 been organised by Glasgow Autonomous Space, which has been going through some difficulties. The good news is that a community collective has come forward to continue running the space, the less good news is that sorting it all out may take up too much time for also running bookfair type shenanigans. 
Website | Facebook


Pic: Promo image for the Edinburgh Bookfair 2021