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Five Leaves Bookshop announces its ambitious online event programme

Pippa Hennessy
Thu 1 Apr, 2021

Five Leaves, Nottingham’s independent city centre bookshop, is 'delighted' to receive National Lottery funding from Arts Council England for its proposed event series in 2021.

Since May 2020, Five Leaves has been running online events with increasing success, including a pre-recorded series of interviews with local authors, a night school on Irish history and literature, and book launches and poetry readings galore.

Pippa Hennessy, Five Leaves online events manager, says: “We’ve seen our audience grow over the last 10 months, and our last event included audience members from across the UK, Ireland, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Israel. All the guests we couldn’t feature and people who couldn’t attend our face-to-face events due to their distance from Nottingham are now able to join the Five Leaves community, and I’m looking forward to seeing that continue through 2021 and into the future.”

The new events will supplement this continuing programme, and will cover four central themes: Modern Women Artists, Autism and the Arts, Cultural Diversity in Children’s Books and Contemporary Irish Authors (in association with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature). Later in the year there will be six international events in collaboration with other UNESCO Cities of Literature: Seattle, Melbourne, Reykjavík, Óbidos, Utrecht and Lillehammer.

Five Leaves owner Ross Bradshaw says: “Five Leaves Bookshop is pleased to have secured Arts Council funding for this BSL-interpreted programme, which gives us an opportunity to go in more depth into subjects we’re interested in. Five Leaves is amongst the first independent bookshops securing Arts Council funding for events and we are pleased that ACE now offers such support to our sector.”

The bookshop’s extensive and varied programme of live events, including poetry readings, political discussions, arts and history talks, and book launches, has enabled them to build a local community, and online events such as the book launch for House of Music, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason’s autobiography about the Nottingham family whose seven children are all professional musicians, have encouraged audiences from around the world to join that community. There are now over 50 recorded online events on the Five Leaves YouTube channel.

In the summer of 2020 Five Leaves partnered with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature on four events featuring Ann Patchett, Tayari Jones and Kate Mosse, among others (resulting in the bookshop being mentioned on Radio 4’s Today programme).

Sandeep Mahal, Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, says: “Five Leaves have long been brilliant at putting on fascinating, insightful and necessary events, and this season of unmissable treats is no exception. Five Leaves has always been an integral part of what it is to be a City of Literature, and by collaborating with our fellow UNESCO cities around the globe is wonderful proof of that. We are very much looking forward to exploring the range of events on offer, and seeing how words can really help build a better world.”

The first event series, on Modern Women Artists and in partnership with Eiderdown Books, has now finished. The Autism and the Arts series, in association with Autistic Nottingham, started on March 30th – remaining events feature Kate Fox and Joanne Limburg reading their autism-related poetry; Sonia Boué, contemporary artist and pioneer of inclusive arts practices; and Katherine May and Rhiannon Lloyd-Williams, talented writers who have a lot to say about autism.

Pippa Hennessy says: “Five Leaves is immensely proud to have been part of Nottingham’s UNESCO City of Literature journey from the start. We’re glad to be working with NUCoL on this project after our successful collaboration last year, which really helped us kick-start our online events programme. And being part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network has offered us opportunities we would not otherwise have had. I hope everyone in Nottingham and beyond will check out our events page and make the most of the chance to see and hear writers they might never have been able to see face-to-face.”

You can join Five Leaves’ mailing list to keep up to date with their events, and other exciting happenings at the shop. In recent news, for instance, they have been once again shortlisted for the UK Independent Bookshop of the Year award, an accolade they won in 2018.


Pippa Hennessy, Five Leaves Bookshop

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