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)
At the 1 in 12 Club
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 Radical Bookfair
at the Exchange, Old Market
Active Distribution will be hosting a quick four-hour showing with new and second hand titles from radical publishers, zine makers and activists in addition to stalls from local campaigns groups. Pitchfork Cafe will also be there from 1-3pm knocking up tasty plant-based scran and raising money for grass roots projects.
The event is free to attend and numbers aren’t restricted, but COVID safety measures will be in place.
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.
Anarchist Bookfair in London and Antiuniversity
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 Anarchist Bookfair
at the People’s History Museum
The Manchester Bookfair crew has now confirmed the plan for this year’s gathering and is open for folks to volunteer help and book stalls (email them at [email protected]). In initial notes they said:
“To keep others safe please take a lateral flow test before attending, don’t attend if feeling unwell and please wear a face mask. No dogs except guide dogs please.
“As you can imagine things might change so please watch this space for latest updates.”
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.
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.
Bristol Radical History Festival: The Bristol Radical History Festival is hoping to go ahead in 2021. Their earlier date of May 15th didn’t happen as their M Shed 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) and Hidden histories of post-war mainland Britain (1945-51)
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.
Website | 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