Five Leaves - Literature and Essays

Latest Publications:

The Mask of Anarchy
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
introduced by John Lucas
ISBN: 978-1910170489, 28 pages


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Jeremy Corbyn brought Shelley’s classic political poem back into the public eye when he quoted the final stanza during the 2017 General Election campaign, and again in his speech at Glastonbury Festival. Written in 1819 after Shelley heard about the Peterloo Massacre, The Mask of Anarchy was not published until 1832 because editor Leigh Hunt “thought the public at large had not become sufficiently discerning to do justice to the sincerity and kindness of the spirit that walked in this flaming robe of verse.” The poem has been recited and referred to by socialists ever since its publication.

John Lucas introduces the poem, putting it into historical and political context. He explains how it is a scathing indictment of the government of the day which, Shelley believed, were ignoring the principles of democracy and implementing a kind of anarchy behind the mask.

Many people believe the ideas expressed in The Mask of Anarchy are still relevant today, perhaps even more so than when it was written.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) was one of the foremost English Romantic poets. A close friend of Byron, he was radical in his poetry as well as his political and social views. Much of his work was considered too inflammatory to be published in his lifetime.

John Lucas is the publisher and editor at Shoestring Press, a poet in his own right, and Emeritus Professor of English at the Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham Trent.

Mad John’s Walk
by John Gallas
ISBN: 978-1910170410, 16 pages

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In the autumn of 2016, poet John Gallas decided to follow the route taken by John Clare when he escaped from Matthew Allen’s High Beach Asylum in Epping Forest and made his way back to his home in Northborough. This pamphlet is a light-hearted account of that eightymile journey in which Gallas reflects on the similarities and differences between Clare’s world and today. A new poem for each day of the walk is included.

John Gallas is a New Zealand poet who was recently made Fellow of the English Association, and was the 2016 poet-inresidence at the St Magnus Festival, Orkney. He has published eleven books of poetry with Carcanet and several collections with other presses..

Street Haunting: A London Adventure
Bulwell & A Name Loosely Attached
by Virginia Woolf , Stanley Middleton
ISBN: 978-1910170427, 24 pages

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‘Street Haunting’ describes “...the greatest pleasure of town life in winter – rambling the streets of London.” A cascade of brief impressions encapsulates the people and places Woolf visited on her frequent walks through the capital, and gives an enchanting picture of London in the 1920s.

Stanley Middleton’s equally evocative yet very different pieces describe the suburb of Bulwell as it was in his youth. Although part of Nottingham, Bulwell and its people have always maintained a distinct identity, which is captured in his essay, ‘Bulwell’, and poem, ‘A Name Loosely Attached’.

Virginia Woolf, one of the foremost modernists of the 20th century, was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the Bloomsbury Group. Her novels include Mrs Dalloway and To The Lighthouse.

Stanley Middleton was a Nottingham-based author who published 44 novels. His novel Holiday won the 1974 Booker Prize, and he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1998.

John Clare: The Trespasser
by John Goodridge and R.K.R. Thornton
ISBN: 978-1910170298, 90 pages

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John Clare was reputedly a solitary, shy man, at one with nature and the world around him. Although these authors have both published books which indicate otherwise, in this volume they focus on Clare as a difficult and transgressive figure. While he documented and celebrated the country life he valued so highly, he was also a witness to the partial destruction of that life, with the coming of enclosure and increasingly severe penalties for trespass.

John Clare: The Trespasser shows how, in his poetry, autobiography and letters, Clare was no supporter or respecter of property rights, and how he admired and learned from the nomadic gypsies and drovers who loved the land as he did..

John Goodridge has recently retired as Professor of English at Nottingham Trent University. He recently published John Clare and Community. He has written extensively on 18th and 19th century poetry and labouring-class poets, including John Clare, Robert Bloomfield and Thomas Chatterton. R.K.R. Thornton, formerly Professor of English and Head of Department first at Newcastle upon Tyne and then at the University of Birmingham, retired in 2000. He has edited and written on John Clare, Ivor Gurney, Gerard Manley Hopkins and the English 1890s.


Harper Lee and the American South
White liberalism and the civil rights struggle in Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman
by Katie Hamilton
ISBN: 978-1910170274, 28 page pamphlet


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Harper Lee and the American South follows the publication of Go Set a Watchman and the controversy surrounding the book. In this pamphlet, Katie Hamilton provides an overview of Lee's life and literary career, placing Go Set a Watchman and the earlier To Kill a Mockingbird in their cultural, political and literary contexts.

Go Set A Watchman was one the most widely anticipated releases of recent years, and in North America it went on to become the fastest-selling book in HarperCollins’s history, with more than 1.1 million sales in its first week alone. It made headlines around the world due to its unexpectedly controversial treatment of Mockingbird’s hero, the liberal small-town lawyer, Atticus Finch. In Watchman, Atticus, one of the most beloved characters in print, is represented as a segregationist, rather than the ‘white knight’ defender of African American civil rights and justice for all that he is in Mockingbird.

Katie Hamilton is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham where she is researching the representation of pregnancy in the literature of the American South and the race, gender and regional issues this subject invokes.

Anarchy 38 Nottingham
Freedom Press
ISBN: 978-1910170182, 32 page pamphlet

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Anarchy journal ran for 118 issues, over ten years, as a monthly addition to the weekly Freedom magazine. The print run was never more than 3,000 copies, with sales rarely reaching that amount, but it was influential, introducing new writers and new subjects to the left in this country and abroad. Most of the issues were designed by Rufus Segar and the journal was famed for its covers.

The Nottingham issue included Alan Sillitoe, who was already a distinguished novelist, the biographer, poet and novelist Philip Callow and the journalist Ray Gosling. Harold Drasdo was, and is, a well known authority on climbing while Paul Ritter became the Chief Planner of Perth, Australia.

Anarchy 38, originally published in 1964, has been something of a collector's item for many years and is republished by permission of Freedom Press.

Freedom Press is an anarchist publishing house in Whitechapel, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1886, it is the largest anarchist publishing house in the country and the oldest of its kind in the English-speaking world. Freedom Press came out of a circle of anarchists with international connections formed around the Londonbased radical firebrand Charlotte Wilson. Among this founding group were Nikola Chaikovski, Francesco Saverio Merlino, and celebrated anarchist-communist Peter Kropotkin.

The Current Status of Jerusalem
by Edward Said
ISBN: 978-1910170083, 30 pages

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“... I do not think there can be real peace except between equals, between two peoples who together decide consciously and deliberately to share the land among themselves decently and humanely.”

The Current Status of Jerusalem by Edward Said was first given as a paper in 1995 and later published in Jerusalem Quarterly together with an introduction by Rashid Khalidi. The essay and introduction are republished by Five Leaves Bookshop as a contribution to the current debate over the future of Israel and Palestine. Edward Said’s essay is as relevant now as when it was first written.

Doctor Who and the Communist
Malcolm Hulke and his career in television
by Michael Herbert
ISBN: 978-1910170090, 30 pages

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Malcolm Hulke was a successful writer for radio, television and the cinema from the 1950s to the late 1970s. His work included episodes for Armchair Theatre and The Avengers, and 54 episodes for Doctor Who, broadcast between 1967 and 1974, for which he is best remembered. He was also a socialist, belonging for a time to the Communist Party of Great Britain, and his political views fed into his work.

Michael Herbert is a socialist historian who lives in Tameside, Greater Manchester. He teaches history to adults at Aquinas College, Stockport and Chetham’s Library, Manchester. His published work includes Never Counted Out: the story of Len Johnson, Manchester’s Black Boxing Hero and Communist; The Wearing of the Green: a political history of the Irish in Manchester and Up Then Brave Women: Manchester’s Radical Women 1819–1918. He is a Trustee of the Working Class Movement Library in Salford and a committee member of the Mary Quaile Club. His website is

Reading Room Only
Memoir of a Radical Bibliophile
by Phil Cohen
ISBN: 978-1907869785, 260 pages

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Phil Cohen – at one time "Dr John", the leading figure of London hippy squatters in 1969, and erstwhile Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London – was born in Bloomsbury and never really moved away. The famous squares and famous writers powered his imagination as a child, while, after his years in the counterculture, the British Museum’s Reading Room provided a second home. The memoir continues through Cohen’s life, discussing book collecting, the pleasures of browsing and the need for bookshops. Building a personal library is a long way from setting fire to books as part of a John Latham "event" but, as a child, a drop-out and a professor, Phil Cohen's life has always been one of books.

Phil Cohen is an Emeritus Professor at the University of East London. His books have been mostly in the field of urban, ethnic and cultural studies, including Knuckle Sandwich: growing up in the working class city (Penguin) and Rethinking the Youth Question (Palgrave) and, in January 2013, a study of East London and the Olympics, On the Wrong Side of the Tracks.

Off The Wall
by Peter Mortimer
ISBN: 1905512155, 160 pages

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Off The Wall: the journey of a play

Illustrated with photographs

Off the Wall is a lively guide to the idiosyncrasies of Hadrian's Wall and the communities that live at either end and along the route.

Cloud Nine Troubadours walked the length of the Wall performing every night. The play - included in full - was a specially commissioned account of one entrepreneur's attempt to turn the Wall into the world's longest theme park.

This book records the journey in its raw detail, parts of which were also covered as a daily log by the Newcastle Journal.

Peter Mortimer is a poet, playwright and editor who lives on the Northumberland coast. He is the editor of Iron Press and the artistic director of Cloud Nine Theatre Productions. He is the author of the best-selling Broke Through Britain, 100 Days on Holy Island and Cool for Qat: a Yemeni Journey, all published by Mainstream.

His other books include: I Married the Angel of the North, avaiable in the Poetry section, and Last of the Hunters in the Social History section
Next Year Will be Better
A Memoir of the 1950s

by John Lucas
ISBN: 978-1907869297, 417 pages (Now in paperback)

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The 1950s are often seen as the “grey decade”, marred by austerity, rationing and conformity. True, but Next Year Will Be Better also tells of skiffle, jazz, CND, Teds, the Angry Young Men, new movements in art and literature. Meanwhile there was work to be had, on building sites and on holiday camps. And there was the joys of Eel Pie Island, Soho, hearing Louis Armstrong, playing jazz and being kissed by Alan Ginsberg.

"Only a dedicated sourpuss could fail to be swept along by Lucas’s zest and intelligence" - The Spectator

"...sharply observed memoir Next Year Will Be Better [is] an antidote to the Larkin-Amis view of the English 1950s that seems to dominate all social histories of the post-war period." - DJ Taylor, Times Literary Supplement

"...recalls in astonishing and celebratory details the sounds, tastes and smells of England in the 1950s, with particular attention paid to poetry and jazz." - Blake Morrison, Books of the Year, The Guardian

" entertaining account of growing up in the 1950s which charts, with an almost forensic precision, the process by which post-war austerity gave way to the comparative affluence of the Macmillan era." - Independent on Sunday

John Lucas is an Emeritus Professor at the Universities of
Loughborough and Nottingham. His 92 Acharnon Street won
the Authors Club Dolman Prize for Travel Writing and was
reviewed everywhere. He is the author of over forty books of
poetry, social history and criticism and is the editor at
Shoestring Press.

Edited by Ross Bradshaw
ISBN: 978-1907869242, 150 pages

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A quirky compendium of essays on maps, places and people, many by leading writers including Iain Sinclair and The Guardian's David McKie and Chris Arnot as well as writers from the London Review of Books, academic journals, a journalist from the World Service and biographers.

Iain Sinclair - Walking Through Liverpool
Chris Arnot - Lost Cricket Grounds of England
David Belbin - Graham Greene in Nottingham
Ross Bradshaw & Ian Parks - The Land of Green Ginger
Andy Croft - Reading Poetry in Siberia
Richard Dennis - Mapping Gissing's Novels
Gillian Darley - Ian Nairn and Jack Kerouac: On the Road
Roberta Dewa - Wilford: An English Village in the 1950s
John Lucas - Uprisings in the South West
David McKie - The Mapping of Surnames
Deirdre O'Byrne - The Famine Roads of Ireland
John Payne - Death on the Border: Walter Benjamin
Mark Patterson - A Short Walk up Dere Street
Andrew Whitehead - Beyond Boundary Passage: London Fiction
Sara Jane Palmer - A Walk to Tafraoute
Paul Barker - The Other Britain: Leeds
Robert Macfarlane - The Guga Men

Dockers and Detectives
by Ken Worpole
ISBN: 978-1905512379, 120 pages

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Long unavailable but in demand, this pioneering study of twentieth-century working class reading and writing in Britain helped revive a number of literary reputations, such as those of Alexander Baron and James Hanley, as well as distinguishing distinct regional literary cultures and narrative styles still existing in Britain.

Dockers and Detectives comprises five long linked chapters on:

● literature and politics
● American influences on popular fiction
● popular literature during WWII
● the novels of working class writers from Liverpool
● the novels of the Jewish East End

Dockers and Detectives was Ken Worpole’s first book, and was widely reviewed and praised on publication.

Ken Worpole is the author of a number of books on architecture, landscape and social history, including Last Landscapes and Here Comes the Sun. He writers regularly for the Guardian, Prospect, Times Higher Education Supplement and other papers.

"For many years, Ken Worpole has been one of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape." - The Independent
Crossing The Border
by Jennifer Langer
ISBN: 0907123635 , 300 pages

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Women and children make up 80% of the world's refugee population, yet their voices are seldom heard. In Crossing The Border women writers from Somalia, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Congo tell their stories. All the women are refugees or are living in exile.

In addition to the stories and memories, Crossing The Border includes articles on women's lives and on women's writing in each of these countries. Jennifer Langer, herself the daughter of refugees, works in refugee education in London, and is the founder of Exiled Writers Ink (020 8458 1910).
The Radical Twenties
by John Lucas
ISBN: 0907123228 & 0907123171, 263 pages

£35.00 hardback, £11.99 paperback
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"What is particularly valuable in this book is the attention Lucas gives to a number of texts from the 1920s that have had less attention than they deserve in literary-critical accounts of the decade... the dust-jacket photograph of Nan Youngman in 1926 with cigarette and guitar, so wonderfully evocative of the spirit Lucas respects and consistently carries forward in his writing"' - MLR

The Silver Throat of the Moon
edited by Jennifer Langer
ISBN: 0907123651, 340 pages

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Refugees and asylum seekers are rarely out of the headlines, or political debate, but only rarely do people in exile have the opportunity to speak for themselves.

The Silver Throat of the Moon includes material from writers originating in countries as diverse as Algeria and Zimbabwe, Somalia and Iran, Kurdistan and Afghanistan. Some authors, like Choman Hardi, Sousa Jamba, Reza Baraheni and the late Miroslav Jancic are now well known internationally for their writing in English, others, like Maxemed Ibrahim ‘Hadraawi’, are revered internationally but fairly new to readers of English.

The causes of exile are manifold, and finding refuge no easy matter. Predrag Finci comments on how many countries he has passed through, whereas his mother has rarely left her village yet the country she has lived in has changed almost as often. Sousa Jamba, on the other hand, pretends to be from a different country to his own as so few Westerners have heard of his former home, and are made nervous by hearing of an unknown land.

As well as writers in exile describing their personal experience, this collection includes essays about being writers and readers in exile. These articles range from the difficulties in holding on to traditional rural imagery in a place so far from home through to the, perhaps temporary, identity of a whole generation of young writers of Algerian origin whose lives have been entirely spent in France.

"This is an excellent and comprehensive anthology, full of passionate and thoughtful writing by the people most likely to know the truth about life in exile; refugees themselves." - New Internationalist

"...ambitious anthology of prose and poetry... a big volume with a diverse range of styles, genres and content... The Silver Throat of the Moon is an elequent book. It is also deeply - and disturbingly - honest." - Writing in Education

The Silver Throat of the Moon is the third anthology of writing by writers in exile edited by Jennifer Langer published by Five Leaves. The Bend in the Road (which included some of the stories in this volume) was the first book by refugees writing in Britain. Crossing the Border: voices of refugee and exiled women is still available.

Jennifer Langer, herself the daughter of refugees, lives in London where she has formed Exiled Writers Ink!
Starkness At Noon
by Richard Boston
ISBN: 0907123325, 218 pages

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"How splendid that the thoughts of this funny/serious and essentially good man should be gathered up... If you are going to clone people, clone Richard Boston in overwhelming quantities - the world would be a better place" - George Melly

"...the off-beat erudition and the witty eccentricity make this a very enjoyable book" - Freedom

"The author stood for the European Parliament on the slogan 'It's a big trough and I want to get my nose in it.' 1018 people voted for him - but it was not enough. And so Europe lost the man who would have dined at our expense on the finest French cuisine and voted for anything that made the world a safer place for eccentrics, lovers of Biggles, nudists... and the postman who built a cathedral in his garden from scraps he found on his postal round" - The Guardian

"...deserves a prize for the best cover photograph - the author seated in a deckchair totally naked except for this laptop"
- The Spectator
This Is No Book: A Gay Reader
by Gregory Woods
ISBN: 0907123260, 112 pages

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"...a marvellous read - witty and independent and full of shrewd insights from, I suppose, the foremost gay poet working in Britain today. If you want to map out a gay canon, start here: a colleague asked me what's been done on gay poetics and I can't think of anything better." - Gay Times