History of the Anarchist Bookfair
The first London Bookfair was held at the autonomy centre in Wapping. In what turned out to be the coldest day of the year, half a dozen anarchist publishers spread out their wares, and when hardly anyone turned up they played a pool tournament. It was a nice time and everyone said: “let’s do it again next year”. So we did.
The idea for the Anarchist Bookfair actually came from the SWP (or International Socialists as they were then). They used to hold a Socialist Bookfair at the Camden Centre. Lots of anarchists turned up, but it was a really boring event, expensive and loads of mainstream publishers. Anarchists there decided to hold our own version.
The idea was that it would be a smaller, but more fun, version of theirs, but ironically, the Socialist Bookfair died years ago and we used the Camden Centre a few years ago but outgrew it. We needed somewhere bigger!
The first Bookfair was in December 1981 and 2015 was our 35th Bookfair. The maths don't work out because for a couple of years we had two a year. Each year we've grown with more stallholders, more meetings and more people turning up on the day. Increasing number of people is why we have gradually changed venues, each time to a bigger place.
1981 Autonomy Centre, Wapping
1983 Prince Albert pub, Kings Cross
1984 Sat 3 Nov Tunbridge Club 120 Cromer Street WC1
1985 Sat 4 May Tunbridge Club
1985 Sat 9 Nov Conway Hall
1986 Sat 22 Nov Conway Hall
1987 Sat 21 Nov Conway Hall
1988 Sat 8 Oct Conway Hall
1989 Sat 7 Oct Conway Hall
1990 Sat 20 October Conway Hall
1991 Sat 19 October Conway Hall
1992 Sat 17 October Conway Hall
1993 Sat 16 October Conway Hall
1994 Sat 22 October Conway Hall
1995 Sat 21 October Conway Hall
1996 Sat 19 October Conway Hall
1997 Sat 18 October Conway Hall
1998 Sat 17 October Conway Hall
1999 Sat 16 October Conway Hall
2000 Sat 14 October Conway Hall
2001 Sat 20 October Camden Centre Euston Road WC1
2002 Sat 19 October Camden Centre
2003 Sat 25 October University of London Union
2004 Sat 27 November University of London Union
2005 Sat 22 October Voluntary Sector Resource Centre
2006 Sat 21 October Voluntary Sector Resource Centre
2007 Sat 27 October Queen Mary's College
2008 Sat 18 October Queen Mary's College
2009 Sat 24 October Queen Mary University
2010 Sat 23 October Queen Mary University
2011 Sat 22 October Queen Mary University
2012 Sat 27 October Queen Mary University
2013 Sat 19 October Queen Mary University
2014 Sat 18 October Queen Mary University
2015 Sat 24 October Central St. Martins
2016 Sat 29 October Park View School
Go here to read a more detailed history of the Anarchist Bookfair
The original and still the best!
Throughout the day there is a professionally-run crèche, an older kids space, a youth space and hot food. There will also be a full programme of revolutionary films for people to watch.