Welcome To Five Leaves Publications

Five Leaves: Five Leaves is a small publisher based in Nottingham, publishing 15 or so books a year. Our roots are radical and literary. These days our main areas of interest are fiction and poetry, social history, Jewish secular culture, with side orders of Romani, young adult, Catalan and crime fiction titles. You can find our latest and forthcoming books below, backlist section by section, and order books through a secure site run by Inpress. Our books are also available from bookshops and internet sites including The Book Depository and Amazon. If in London, you will find most of our books in stock at Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, five minutes from Kings Cross.


Five Leaves Bookshop: The first independent bookshop in Nottingham since 2000, Five Leaves Bookshop opened in Central Nottingham on 9th November 2013. Please visit www.fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk for more information.

Five Leaves Bookshop


eBooks: More than twenty Five Leaves titles are now available as ebooks. A selection of the most recent are shown below, and the complete list can be found in the ebook section.

Amazon eBook Amazon eBook Amazon eBook
Several other new ebook titles available in our new eBooks section.


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Blog: Five Leaves independent publishing blog also online at:
www.fiveleavespublications.blogspot.com




Submissions: Most of our books are commissioned and our publishing programme is in place for some years ahead. Please don’t send any unsolicited submissions by post or email as our list is full. Sorry.


Latest Publications:

Left for the Rising Sun, Right for the Swan Hunter: The Plebs League in the North East of England 1908/1926
by Robert Turnbull
ISBN: 978-19101700762, 85 pages

£6.99 Click here to buy via inpress online store
Available, post free, from the Five Leaves Bookshop
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Left for the Rising Sun, Right for Swan Hunter
The Plebs League in the North East of England 1908/1926


One hundred years ago the North East was at the forefront of independent working class education as self-educated shipyard workers and miners sought to understand the conditions in which they lived. The key organisations nationally were the Plebs League and the Labour College Movement, both of which sought a politically committed answer.

Left for the Rising Sun, Right for Swan Hunter - whose title reflects the main choices for working people at the time - celebrates the memory of those autodidacts who took part in the long struggle for an education that was otherwise denied to them.

Robert Turnbull has written for BBC History, TLS, Morning Star and Medieval History. He is a graduate of Ruskin College and the University of Northumbria, where he is involved in a number of labour history projects.
Towns in Britain
Jones the Planner
by Adrian Jones and Chris Matthews
ISBN: 978-1907869822, 340 pages

£16.99Click here to buy via inpress online store
Available, post free, from the Five Leaves Bookshop

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Towns in Britain is an evocation and appreciation of our towns and cities and an evaluation of the changes which have shaped them over the last sixty years. Twenty-five places are covered, as diverse as Hackney and Glasgow, Lincoln and Letchworth and Coventry and Swansea.

On our journey we look at the architecture, townscape, urban design, housing and planning of great cities and disregarded places, illuminating their characters and qualities, their potential as well as their planning disasters.


Adrian Jones was Director of Planning and Transport in Nottingham. He is a member ofthe National Design Review Panel for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Chris Matthews is a topographer and local historian who lectures in graphic design at Lincoln University.

Both authors collaborate on the blog jonestheplanner.co.uk

Look Back in Anger
The Miners’ Strike in Nottinghamshire - 30 Yrs On
by Harry Paterson
ISBN: 978-1907869952, 240pages

£9.99 Click here to buy via inpress online store
Available, post free, from the Five Leaves Bookshop

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The scars left by the 1984/85 "Great Strike for Jobs" are still raw in Nottinghamshire, thirty years later. There, the majority of the National Union of Mineworkers did not support their union, working throughout the strike, later forming the breakaway Union of Democratic Miners. Look Back in Anger puts these events into context, giving a history of the coalfields through the twentieth century and the first comprehensive overview of the strike year in Nottinghamshire.

Harry Paterson has interviewed striking and working miners, Coal Board officials, women active in opposing the pit closures, Council officials and others. The book includes information that has never before appeared in print, alongside memorabilia and personal letters from the period.

A Brief History of Whistling
by John Lucas and Allan Chatburn
ISBN: 978-1907869884, 196 pages


£9.99 Click here to buy via inpress online store
Available, post free, from the Five Leaves Bookshop

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Whistling has been used for communication, including secret communication, work, entertainment and self-expression. This book is inspired by the comment "You never hear anyone whistling nowadays". True, but only in part, as whistling appears regularly in TV advertisements and even in rap songs.

A Brief History of Whistling is – astonishingly – the first popular work to look at whistling in all its forms, exploring folk traditions, music hall, film, the "whistling villages" and tribes in other countries, the varieties of whistling. The book attempts to answer the question "how do you whistle?", which is more complicated than simply the instruction – as Lauren Bacall said to Humphrey Bogart – "just put your lips together and blow". Yes, whistling can also be to do with sex, and it has also appeared in literature from Homer to DH Lawrence, and even provided a running storyline in Star Trek.

The book is richly illustrated by folk customs, sayings, and the astounding number of practical uses for whistling.


John Lucas has written many scholarly works on Dickens, Hardy, William Blake, and literature in the 1920s and the 1930s. His 92 Achernon Street won the Dolmen/Author's Club Prize for travel writing. His memoir Next Year Will Be Better is published by Five Leaves.

Allan Chatburn has been a manual worker all his life, returning to his trade as a plasterer after taking a degree in English Literature at Loughborough University.

Ian Nairn, Words in Place
by Gillian Darley and David McKie
ISBN: 978-1907869877, 160 pages


£10.99 Click here to buy via inpress online store
Available, post free, from the Five Leaves Bookshop

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with contributions from Jonathan Meades, Owen Hatherley, Deyan Sudjic and Gavin Stamp.

Large format paperback.
Dimensions: 229mm x 152mm


"Ian Nairn taught a generation to look, and another one to write"


Ian Nairn lit up the pages of the architectural press, broadsheets and TV screens with his incandescent reports on the uglification of Britain, not just by standard eyesores but by the prissy and the pretentious and the blunderings of planners and architects creating new buildings and roads which show no respect for the places they invade. There is spreading across the country, he warned, a blight of anonymous, soulless development, which he called Subtopia.

The least likely of TV personalities, Nairn worked without a script. He was awkward and melancholy, but made admired programmes including Nairn's Travels. He was not just a prophet of doom. He championed what others mock: Swindon and Wigan, even a used car dump. Nairn’s London is still acclaimed as one of the best books written about the city. Nairn often piloted a plane over his subject matter!

He died at 52 in near obscurity. Yet in his brief incendiary heyday he taught a whole generation to look at their world in a new, more perceptive and above all, more responsive way. That is the heart of his legacy.

Gillian Darley and David McKie have charted the remarkable life of this exceptional man, with contributions from four writers who knew, worked with or were inspired by him.

Gillian Darley has written a several biographies and the pioneering Villages of Vision. Her latest book, Vesuvius, was a Radio 4 Book of the Week.
David McKie is a former deputy editor of the Guardian. His most recent books include McKie's Gazetteer and Great British Bus Journeys.
Jonathan Meades' latest television series is The Joys of Essex.
Owen Hatherley is the author of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain.
Deyan Sudjic is the director of the Design Museum
Gavin Stamp is a widely-published architectural critic.


Forthcoming Titles:

A Modern Don Juan
Cantos for These Times by Divers Hands
Edited by Andy Croft and Nigel Thompson
ISBN: 978-1910170045, 360 pages


£14.99 Available September 2014

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‘I hope it is no crime / To laugh at all things,’ wrote Byron in Don Juan; ‘for I wish to know / What, after all, are all things – but a show?’

Two hundred years after Byron turned his back on the hypocrisy and cant of his native England, fifteen contemporary poets pay homage to Byron’s greatest satirical creation by writing a new Don Juan for our own age of cant.

A Modern Don Juan follows the sexual adventures of Byron’s picaresque anti-hero in the twenty-first century. Mixing Low Comedy and High Seriousness, the book follows night-club DJ and picaresque anti-hero Donald Johnson as he stumbles from one romantic disaster to the next. Along the way, the authors pass comment on the customs and common-sense of the contemporary world. Donny seeks his fortune in Cameron’s Britain, Berlusconi’s Italy and Sydney’s clubland. He is a London restaurant critic, a Brussels Eurocrat and a reality TV celeb. If you are quick you can catch him in Greece, Budapest, Central America, a prison cell – even in Outer Space. He is indeed new Don Juan for the twenty-first century.

The contributors are Ben Borek, Andy Croft, Claudia Daventry, Ian Duhig, Rachel Hadas, WN Herbert, George Jowett, John Lucas, Amit Majmudar, Sinead Morrissey, Alicia Stallings, George Szirtes, Nigel Thompson, Tim Thorne and Mike Wilson.

Crime Scene Britain and Ireland
A Reader's Guide
by John Martin
ISBN: 978-1910170052, 296 pages


£9.99 Available October 2014

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This book is for all readers of crime fiction. Dividing Britain and Ireland into twelve regions, the author describes the work of contemporary and historic crime writers and their novels where the setting of the novel is crucial, giving the story context and local relevance.

While regional crime novels go back to The Hound of the Baskervilles, identifiably regional crime within specific cityscapes and landscapes only came into its own twenty years ago with Ian Rankin, John Harvey and Val McDermid. Their work, together with hundreds of others, and thousands of titles are described in this volume which will be essential for the serious crime reader.


John Martin is a lifelong crime reader. A former librarian, he has given hundreds of talks on crime fiction to library, bookshop and local audiences. For three years he was judge for the The Dagger in the Library Award for the Crime Writers Association. If he hasn't read it, it isn't crime fiction!

Curious Kentish Town
by Martin Plaut and Andrew Whitehead
ISBN: 978-1910170069, 64 pages


£6.50 Available November 2014

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This elegant publication visits over thirty remarkable locations within twenty minutes' stroll of Kentish Town station, and tells their curious stories. Anarchists, poets, exiles, artists, African revolutionaries, 1930s fascists, all have left their mark in and around NW5.

Do you know about the North London rent strike that inspired a Peggy Seeger song ... or the horse tunnels built under the canals ... or the spot where the long lost Fleet river breaks cover?

This book brings you the last hurrah of the 'beanfeast' ... a contemporary echo of the Crimea ... the most touching of First World War memorials. You can follow in the tracks of the old piano industry, come across the craziest of London's parish churches and hunt down a beery elephant's head.

The artist-designed map encourages readers to follow in the authors’ footsteps, across Kentish Town and around, from Regent's Park to Tufnell Park, from Camden Town to Dartmouth Park, exploring hidden nooks and crannies and the memorable tales attached to them.

All the locations are brought to life by stunning photographs, new and old, with expert design and layout throughout.


About the Authors
Martin Plaut and Andrew Whitehead are both experienced
journalists who have spent most of their career at the BBC
World Service. Both have published extensively. Martin and
Andrew have both lived in NW5 for decades.