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Bread & Roses book awards

The inaugural Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2012.

Radical publishing is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance, in part because of the growing scepticism towards capitalism, but also down the fact that there are a lot of very talented writers out there. In order to raise the profile of radical publishing, and help highlight exceptional work, the Alliance of Radical Booksellers has launched the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing.


This is a new, independent, annual award for the best radical book published each year. We have avoided being too prescriptive in defining ‘radical’, but the shortlisted books are all informed by socialist, anarchist, environmental, feminist and anti-racist concerns, and have a primary goal to inspire, support, or report on political and/or personal change.


In all this we share the vision and values of the Bread and Roses Centennial Film Festival, and it is encouraging to see people rallying around the memories of previous campaigns as a way to move the struggle forward. It’s important we support one another’s work, and build a sense of community around our efforts.


As well as checking out the books on the shortlist, do have a look at the Alliance of Radical Booksellers website, and have a look for where your local progressive bookseller is situated.


The Shortlist

‘Counterpower: Making Change Happen’by Tim Gee
New Internationalist, £9.99
In this accessible primer on power and rebellion, Tim Gee encourages us to think critically about the forces at work in struggles as diverse as the women’s suffrage movement and the Arab Spring.


‘Debt: The First 5,000 Years’by David Graeber
Melville House, £21.99 (Hardback)
Contrary to the fairytales told in economic textbooks, human beings didn’t start with barter, discover money, and then develop credit systems. In fact, as anarchist and anthropologist David Graeber argues in this wide-ranging work, drawing on a vast panoply of evidence, exactly the reverse is true.
‘Tweets from Tahrir: Egypt’s Revolution as it Unfolded, in the Words of the People Who Made It’ edited by Nadia Idle and Alex Nunns
OR Books, £8.00

The story of the Egyptian uprising – through the toppling of Mubarak – by the people who made it, told in 140-or-fewer-character Tweets.


‘Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class’ by Owen Jones
Verso, £14.99
In order to deflect blame from their own role in increasing inequality and decreasing social mobility, Britain’s political and media elites have wilfully promoted the notion of the working class as an object of fear and ridicule.


‘Magical Marxism’ by Andy Merrifield
Pluto Press, £17.99
Urban theorist Andy Merrifield imagines a Marxism that moves beyond the stale debates about class and the role of the state, drawing inspiration from – and connections between – The Invisible Committee’s ‘The Coming Insurrection’, Guy Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’ and Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘Hundred Years of Solitude’. Highly readable.


‘Penny Red: Notes from the New Age of Dissent’ by Laurie Penny
Pluto Press, £12.99
Whether filing a report from inside a police kettle in Whitehall or analysing the feminist implications of Stieg Larsson’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, Laurie Penny’s writing is always sharp as a knife.


‘Treasure Islands : Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World’ by Nicholas Shaxson
Vintage, £8.99
Nicholas Shaxson’s exposé of the mechanics of tax havens reveals a collusion between governments and the wealthy that perverts democracy, sidesteps the law, and leaves the poorest paying the price.


The winner of this year’s shortlist will be announced by our guest judges Michael Rosen, Nina Power and Madeline Heneghan, at the Bread and Roses pub, on International Workers’ Day, May 1st. For more information please visit the relevant websites:


Bread and Roses Book Awards
Radical Booksellers