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Radical Book Fair Overview

BySarah Aron

Nov 12, 2017

The Edinburgh Independent & Radical Book Fair was established in 1996 by Wole Soyinka in conjunction with Word Power Books. In this, its twenty-first year, it returns to Edinburgh from the 16th to the 19th of November.


The event is being run by Lighthouse, Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop, which prides itself on fostering “a true flea market of books and ideas, and a great alternative to the season’s hyper-commercialised Christmas Fairs.”

For the past 20 years, Word Power has hosted the event to promote diversity in thought and to give a voice to new writers who exist outside the mainstream. This year Lighthouse Bookshop takes the reigns from Word Power, bringing with it a host of new speakers and events in their midst.

Visitors can drop by Assembly Roxy in Southside any time from 11am-6pm to exchange ideas and peruse a flea market of progressive publishing: there, you can expect to find an expansive range of radical literature, crafts, and showcases.

Keynote speakers will include Shami Chakrabarti (November 16th), Michael Rosen (November 17th), and Scilla Elworthy (November 18th).


Shami Chakrabarti, a prominent civil liberties activist and current Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales, opens the event with commentary on her book Of Women.


The following day sees the British Children’s Laureate from 2007-2009 Michael Rosen discuss his experience as a poet and leftist activist.


Scilla Elworthy, three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, concludes the Book Fair with a Peace Building Day addressing approaches to creating a world without war. Elworthy, a decorated peace builder, has dedicated her life to promoting worldwide nonviolence. In the final keynote speech of the Book Fair, she will discuss her new book The Business Plan or Peace.

Other highlights of the fair include a zine showcase, craftivism workshop, and panel events on economic inequality and the refugee crisis. Tickets are free and can be found via the Lighthouse Bookshop website.

The Radical Book Fair is the perfect place to discover new and independent publishers while hearing esteemed, well-established activists share their thoughts and experiences. The event promises to cultivate an inclusive environment of progressive thought and is suitable for all ages.


For a full programme of events, visit the Lighthouse Bookstore website or check out the Edinburgh Radical Book Fair Facebook event page.


The Radical Book Fair runs from 16th-19th November.

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