Friday, 3 June 2011

All the fun of the fair

Book fairs are nothing new. Those of us close to or well into the bus pass years will recall the annual Socialist Bookfair and the assorted international and third world and black book fairs. The only survivor from that era is the Anarchist Bookfair, mentioned here before, doing spectacularly well, and now being around twenty years old. The next is on 22nd October ( The advance leaflet for this year's fair says it is the London Anarchist Bookfair. Has it said that before? I am not sure but it now does seem pointed since May alone saw anarchist bookfairs in Sheffield and - particularly well attended - in Bristol. Our Lowdham Book Festival has always had a book fair on one day, with many talks and lectures (http://www.lowdhambookfestival/) which became the model for States of Independence in Leicester ( This has become the model for an as yet unnamed fair likely to be on October 8th in Birmingham. Meanwhile the comic and artists book scene held a proletarian "International Alternative Press Fair" last weekend ( and the Arnolfini in Bristol held a more middle-class, artist book, Bristol Artists Book Event (unfortunate acronym there). This advertised "prices starting from a few pounds" but on some exhibits you would have needed a mortgage. Up in Durham the date New Writing North is organising a Christmas Market over the first weekend in December. In short, as the high street struggles, independent publishers, from pamphleteers to purveyors of locked glass cabinet books are responding by organising a book fair near you. The more the merrier.

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