Category: Blog

The Great Book Fringe Logo Competition!

Do YOU want to be involved in creating the look of this year’s Book Fringe? Want to put those design skills to use in highlighting the presence of Edinburgh’s  alternative literary festival? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you!

The Book Fringe is a bookshop-run, alternative festival of ideas which runs parallel to the Edinburgh International Book Festival every August. It’s been going since 2009, and consists of a series of author talks hosted in the intimate surroundings of both the Lighthouse and Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge. We’re looking to make this year’s Book Fringe even more exciting than last year, and part of accomplishing that will be finding a new logo to adorn the front of our official brochure and online marketing.

A suitable logo design should:

  • Be eye-catching enough to stand out amongst hundreds of festival leaflets.
  • Encapsulate the core ideals of the Book Fringe (reading, knowledge, inclusivity…and fun!).
  • Be compatible with Adobe InDesign (we’ll have to drop it into the program as we design this in house).
  • Preferably (but not necessarily), draw on the imagery of its two hosts, the Lighthouse and the Golden Hare.

If you would like your design to be considered for the new Book Fringe logo, please submit it, even as a draft (if you win, you can finish up then!) to books@lighthousebookshop.com no later than Monday 2nd July.

The creator of the winning design will receive £50 in cash or as a book voucher, as well as a goodie bag assembled by both bookshops. The winner will of course be credited in the official Book Fringe brochure, due to be stocked all over Edinburgh come August.

 

A note from the team:

We do realise this is not much, and nowhere near a professional fee. We also acknowledge that design work is skilled work which is often expensive and time consuming to undertake. If you have a portfolio of work and you would like an idea of whether we think your style fits our aesthetic before submitting a design pitch we are more than happy to look at your work and let you know what we think.

We are a very small operation and the BookFringe doesn’t yet turn a profit – we’re running this open call as some of our creative readers (who aren’t professionals) asked for the chance to pitch ideas. Although this adds an expense we can’t much afford we thought it better to open the call to those who would find a win beneficial to their creative pursuits, rather than do so in house as we have done in the past. We hope to be in a position to commission and pay for a piece in years to come.

If the winner would like to work on their design with our booksellers, we have InDesign and would happily have you in for a chance to work it up.

Good luck, and thanks for taking part!

 

*All creators who submit their work retain their rights to that work, all files & work submitted that does not win will not be shared with any third parties nor used by us in any way – your ideas are your own.
*The winning BookFringe logo will only be used for our flyers, posters, and digital marketing for the 2018 Book Fringe, should we wish to keep using the winning logo we will happily negotiate a new fee and contract.

Winners of the Palestine Book Awards Webinar Series

Lighthouse Bookshop is proud to partner with the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Society as they present a series of webinars by the winners of the 2017 Palestine Book Awards. The authors have agreed to speak in a series of webinars to audiences in Scotland and beyond about aspects of Palestine which will expand our knowledge in order to deliver effective solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Here’s a breakdown of who will be speaking:

 

The Commander: Fawzi Al-Qawuqji and the fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948

LAILA PARSONS – The Commander
Purchase the book HERE

THURSDAY, 7th JUNE, 7pm

Revered by some as the Arab Garibaldi, maligned by others as an intriguer and opportunist, Fawzi al-Qawuqji manned the ramparts of Arab history for four decades. As a young officer in the Ottoman Army, he fought the British in World War I and won an Iron Cross. In the 1920s, he mastered the art of insurgency and helped lead a massive uprising against the French authorities in Syria. A decade later, he reappeared in Palestine, where he helped direct the Arab Revolt of 1936.

When an effort to overthrow the British rulers of Iraq failed, he moved to Germany, where he spent much of World War II battling his fellow exile, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who had accused him of being a British spy. In 1947, Qawuqji made a daring escape from Allied-occupied Berlin, and sought once again to shape his region’s history. In his most famous role, he would command the Arab Liberation Army in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.

In this well-crafted, definitive biography, Laila Parsons tells Qawuqji’s dramatic story and sets it in the full context of his turbulent times. Following Israel’s decisive victory, Qawuqji was widely faulted as a poor leader with possibly dubious motives. The Commander shows us that the truth was more complex: although he doubtless made some strategic mistakes, he never gave up fighting for Arab independence and unity, even as those ideals were undermined by powers inside and outside the Arab world. In Qawuqji’s life story we find the origins of today’s turmoil in the Arab Middle East.

To attend, register HERE.


Image result for ella shohatELLA SHOHAT – On the Arab-Jew, Palestine and Other Displacements
Purchase the book HERE

THURSDAY, 5th JULY, 7pm

Ella Shohat is an Arab Jew from a Baghdadi family now living in New York. She is Professor of Cultural Studies and of Middle Eastern Studies at New York University. On the Arab-Jew, Palestine and Other Displacements was written over 30 years and tackles the record of Zionism in relation to Arab Jews, a term Zionism seeks to make inconceivable.

See 5-minute http://bit.do/EllaShohat

An essay by Prof Shohat Reflections by an Arab Jew
“I am an Arab Jew. Or, more specifically, an Iraqi Israeli woman living, writing and teaching in the U.S. Most members of my family were born and raised in Baghdad, and now live in Iraq, Israel, the U.S., England, and Holland. When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the ’50s, she was convinced that the people who looked, spoke and ate so differently–the European Jews–were actually European Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness. My grandmother, who still lives in Israel and still communicates largely in Arabic, had to be taught to speak of “us” as Jews and “them” as Arabs. For Middle Easterners, the operating distinction had always been “Muslim,” “Jew,” and “Christian,” not Arab versus Jew. The assumption was that “Arabness” referred to a common shared culture and language, albeit with religious differences.

To attend, register HERE.


Image result for ibtisam barakatIBTISAM BARAKAT – Balcony on the Moon
Purchase the book HERE

THURSDAY, 2nd AUGUST, 7pm

The speaker in August is Ibtisam Barakat whose autobiograhical Balcony on the Moon; Coming of Age in Palestine has received critical praise.

“Lyrical and moving, Barakat’s first-person, present-tense story catapults the reader into a time when political tensions and the battle for human rights rage on, and the fight, not only for survival, but to have a voice is in full swing.

Not to be missed, this memoir is a wonderful additional to any library”.  VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

“Being Palestinian teaches you to be ready for any destiny.” This is a compelling personal history, brimming with humor, wisdom, and empathy.” Publishers Weekly

This intense memoir paints a dark picture of growing up in Israeli-occupied Palestine, where “we are made to live with no land, no country, no rights, no safety, and no respect for our dignity.” Her father’s despair looms large. A memorable chapter read here by the author recounts his threat to kill himself by crashing his truck; the whole family insists on accompanying him on the ride.

To attend, register HERE.


Image result for ben ehrenreichBEN EHRENREICH – The Way To The Spring
Purchase the book HERE

THURSDAY, 6th SEPT, 7pm

US award-winning journalist and novelist, Ben Ehrenreich, on the themes of his critically acclaimed On the Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine. The author spent three years documenting the lives of Palestine’s West Bank residents. He will share his first-hand experiences of the Friday demos in Nabi Saleh, where Ahed and her mother Nariman Tamimi were snatched in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers  and other family members have been killed and severly wounded.

The ‘spring’ in the title is Nabi Saleh’s water source stolen by the nearby settlement and the focus of the weekly demonstrations there.

Ben concludes his introduction to On the Way to the Spring “[T]his book is a work of optimism, and of hope…because even in their despair, with no reason to hope, people continue to resist. I cannot think of many other reasons to be proud of being human, but that one is enough.”

“A powerful and brilliantly realized scream of a book, scorching and tender, from a journalist whose anger and empathy burn through every word.” Granta Publishers

“Ehrenreich reveals a Palestine that is defined not by loss, but by ‘semi-magical’ defiance and vitality. Despite their land ‘vanishing beneath their feet’, life continues and, as one young resident puts it, remains ‘beautiful’. Financial Times

2-minute video: http://bit.do/BenEhrenreich 

To attend, register HERE.


Image result for PETTER BAUCK & MOHAMMED OMER

PETTER BAUCK & MOHAMMED OMER – The Oslo Accords
Purchase the book HERE

(TBC) 
Petter Bauck worked in Palestine as a conflict advisor for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation from 2000 to 2003. Mohammed Omer is a Palestinian journalist and recipient of the
Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The Oslo Accords: A Critical Assessment, examines the Oslo Accords; did the agreement have a reasonable chance of success? What went wrong? What are the recommendations today to show a way forward?
See 4-minute http://bit.do/MohammedOmer
& 21-minute http://bit.do/PetterBauck

 

 

 


All titles featured are now available from the Lighthouse’s online shop HERE

Feminist Book Fortnight – watch this space!

 

by Jim Taylor & Mairi Oliver

Back in the summer of 1984, the inaugural International Feminist Book Fair was held in Covent Garden, London. Supported by a growing feminist reading audience, the fair was followed by a ten day-long celebration of feminist ideas and women’s writing held in bookshops and community centres across the UK, dubbed “Feminist Book Week”. Over the next few years, this became an annual fixture for the book trade, stretching to a full two weeks every summer, and thus was the Feminist Book Fortnight born.

This summer, from 16th-30th June, Feminist Book Fortnight (FBF) is being resurrected by a group of radical and independent bookshops across the UK, headed up by Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham. There will be two weeks of events and book displays up and down the country, celebrating both the centenary of some British women getting the vote, and the recent boom in feminist publishing. As the official FBF website states:

There has been an explosion of new feminist publishing in the last two to three years.  Books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Laura Bates, Mary Beard, Laurie Penny, Rebecca Solnit, 404Ink and many others have become bestsellers. Younger feminists are also discovering feminist classics by writers and activists such as Audre Lorde, whose writing was recently republished in the UK by Silver Press.”

Lighthouse Bookshop is proud to be a part of FBF. As a feminist bookshop, we recognise that feminism is hugely important in the fight for progress and equality, both at home and abroad, and yet still massively misunderstood and underused as a way of challenging structures of power. We’re delighted to have an opportunity to shout about our vision of a truly intersectional feminism concerned with social and economic justice, and we hope that the coordinated events will draw publishers’ attention so we can bring some high-profile authors in on the conversation and reach new readers.

It’s also true that feminism faces some major challenges at the moment. As a bookshop we champion a pro-active, inclusive feminism, and the FBF offers us an opportunity to showcase writers and voices which chime with our mission, as well as the chance to make new converts and challenge outdated or exclusive forms of feminism. Feminism should be about striking at the heart of inequality and injustice so naturally we’re concerned about the increasing commercialisation of ‘feminism’, particularly within the publishing industry.

That Penguin, for example, can in the same year publish its feminist women series and bring out books by Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker shows real hypocrisy. It can’t sit well that the industry is making bank with all the suffragette inspired books coming out, whilst also having endemic problem with pay inequality based on gender and class. To us, this is evidence that for many, feminism, equality and diversity are just buzzwords and tick-boxes, rather than vibrant, exciting and necessary ways of working and publishing.

The Lighthouse’ FBF will follow the example of the indie publishers who are leading the way in both spirit and action. Like & Other Stories, 404Ink, Cassava Republic, Oneworld, Tilted Axis, Silver Press and Bloomsbury, we must bring brilliant stories and voices to readers, voices which bridge gender, class, sexuality and race. The Lighthouse will be running a series of events which uses this variety of thought and experience to help us better understand, engage with the world around us with a feminist perspective. We’ll have Feminist story/craft sessions for little ones, talks on economics with the likes of Ann Pettifor and much more.

Specifics will be announced over the next six weeks, but for now it suffices to say that, in an age when the #MeToo movement is necessary, when we have to fight tooth and nail to repeal the 8th amendment, and when the gender pay gap is manifested everywhere we look, feminist voices and ideas are more important than ever, and we hope you’ll join us for a fortnight of debate and discussion which puts them centre-stage. Watch this space!

There is no centralised organisation behind Feminist Book Fortnight 2018, but information can be found here:
Website: https://feministbookfortnight.wordpress.com/
Facebook: @feministbookfortnight
Twitter: @FeministBkFt18

In the meantime, do join us in our solidarity fundraiser for the #Repealthe8th campaign, Thursday 19th April, 8pm: details HERE.

In solidarity with the UCU strikers: Their fight is your fight

by Jim Taylor

If one were to follow only certain outlets of the mainstream media, one would be led to believe that the university staff currently striking over proposed reforms to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) are petulantly overreacting to a perfectly sensible restructuring of their pension scheme. The USS is unsustainable in its current form, they say, parroting the claims of Universities UK (UUK), the advocacy group for university employers who voted for the reforms several months ago. Current projections, these outlets cry, show that there’s not enough funding to sustain the scheme into the next generation of university staff, and depriving students of the classes for which they’ve paid exorbitant fees isn’t going to solve anything.

As is usually the nature of these things, there’s another side to the story.

Read more

Fighting intolerance this LGBT history month

If the last two years in politics have taught us anything, it’s that intolerance not only endures in our society but does so as a powerful force which must be resisted at every turn. We can no longer assume that the moral development of states and nations will proceed in an untroubled fashion, and the evidence bears this out. One in five LGBT people in Britain experienced a hate crime or incident in 2017, and the same space of time also saw an unprecedented rise in anti-LGBT hate crimes in the USA, exacerbated (according to new research by GLAAD) by the policies of the Trump administration. In these troubling times, with the promise of tolerance still unfulfilled, we must be active in combating intolerance through both words and deeds. And the first step towards doing so, arguably, is raising awareness.

February is LGBT history month in the UK, and this year the theme is “Geography: Mapping the World”, which expresses solidarity with LGBT people and allies across the globe. While 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of Section 28, and the 40th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s assassination, it’s also exactly 40 years since Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag was first unveiled, and the centenary of the Representation of People Act in the UK gives us cause to celebrate the contributions of LGBT suffragettes like Ethel Smythe and Emmeline Pankhurst. Throughout February and March there’s a whole host of events taking place up and down the country, with many happening in Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland (full list available at http://www.lgbthistory.org.uk/events/). These events celebrate LGBT life and culture, but are also a powerful tool for raising awareness, and thus combating intolerance.

We’re proud to be an LGBT Bookshop and community space, so naturally February was an extra excuse to feature the work of LGBT writers and performers. Contributors to the upcoming Knight Errant Press anthology F, M or Other: Quarrels with the Gender Binary already came to read from their work and kick off the book’s crowdfunding campaign, and they are still trying to raise the money to make this much needed book a reality so do give HERE!

We also hosted the inaugural meeting of Other Fruit, our LGBT book club, where we discussed Ali Smith’s Girl Meets Boy, and next month we take on  Olumide Popoola’s When We Speak of Nothing – a stunning debut that captures what it means to be young, black and queer in London (March 12th).

Last night saw us host the launch of Rachel Plummer’s new poetry collection and tonight (!!!) Michael Amherst will be in the shop speaking about his book Go The Way Your Blood Beats: On Truth, Bisexuality and Desire (some tickets are still available via our events page). We’re carrying on queer festivities into the rest of 2018, with the launches of the Bi-ble: Exploring Bi-erasure in March, and Lola Keeley’s tremendous lesbian novel The Music and the Mirror in April.

This LGBT history month, we urge you to go and check out some of the great events happening in Edinburgh and throughout the country. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and many will do both, but all are a great source of inspiration to those of us who want to raise awareness, organise, and take aim at the widespread intolerance which still persists in 2018. It’s a fight in which we all must play a part.

Trump & the blurring of reality

Fire & Fury has landed in the bookshop and we have mixed feelings about stocking yet another book about the west’s most embarrassing, dangerous man. What more does it add/ offer/ bring to the table? Well, here are Masha Gessen’s thoughts, she puts it better than we ever could:

“The President of the United States is a deranged liar who surrounds himself with sycophants. He is also functionally illiterate and intellectually unsound. He is manifestly unfit for the job. Who knew? Everybody did.

So why has Fire And Fury, a book containing this information, padded with much tedious detail, become an overnight sensation, a runaway best-seller, and the topic of every other political column, podcast, and dinner conversation? It seems we are in bigger trouble with reality perception than we might have realized.

A year in, the Trump Presidency remains unimaginable. To think that a madman could be running the world’s most powerful country, to think that the Commander-in-Chief would use Twitter to mouth off about whose nuclear button is bigger or to call himself a “very stable genius,” verges on the impossible. If the word “unthinkable” had a literal meaning, this would be it. It also brings to mind the psychiatrist Judith Herman’s definition of a related word: “Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud,” she once wrote. “This is the meaning of the word unspeakable.”

The Trump era is unimaginable, unthinkable, unspeakable. Yet it is waging a daily assault on the public’s sense of sanity, decency, and cohesion. It makes us crazy.”

We are a bookshop packed with antidotes to Trump and the Trump phenomenon, not least amongst them a little truth, a little hope, many great women and some good laughs. And if you want a copy of Fire & Fury, you can buy that here too.

Time for a strong covfefe, and then revolution?

(Observations canibalised from a conversation with the ever thoughtful William O & Gessen’s New Yorker Article)

Women in Translation

Figures show that we are nearing an equilibrium in novel sales between the genders. Almost as many books sell by female authors as books by male authors. The difference according to many book sales charts is as little as one or two percent in both many areas of genre writing and literary fiction. That said, it is hard to shake the feeling when you enter any bookshop that the fiction shelves are populated by fewer female names than male. Could this be a hangover from history? As the shelves aren’t purely populated by modern books, could the sexist history of publishing be maintaining a sexist present in bookselling? I don’t claim to have answers, but it is an interesting issue to query. There is one area of fiction which still inarguably suffers from a very modern gender imbalance, and this is fiction in translation.

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Independent Bookshop Week : Remember the MillionsMissing #ME

What if you couldn’t visit your local bookshop? What if it took you a day’s bed rest to recover from making a pot of a tea? What if you had to choose between washing your hair and reading a chapter?  When you are severely disabled even the tiniest task can be a herculean feat.

I’d like to use Independent Bookshop Week as an opportunity for a shout out to all those readers who cannot physically visit our bookshop, or any bookshop, because their disease has robbed them of the opportunity. In particular, this is a shout out to all those living with M.E.

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Edinburgh’s Book Fringe 2017

Started in 2009 by Word Power, Edinburgh’s Book Fringe hosts an array of writers to perform, read from and discuss their work, as well as sign books. This year’s Book Fringe will be delivered by three independent bookshops – the Lighthouse, Golden Hare and Edinburgh Bookshop.

This is a unique collaboration that celebrates Edinburgh’s vibrant literary scene and the bookshops that serve the readers all across the city, all year round. Expect free, friendly, intimate events with a fantastic selection of writers, poets and novelists. Previous guests have included Mark Thomas, James Robertson, Amy Liptrot, Helen Fitzgerald, Janice Galloway, Rajah Shehadeh and Marion McCreedy.

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Encouraging debate vs promoting hate speech : Cancelling Gilad Atzmon

As some of you will be aware, the bookshop was recently asked to be a venue for Gilad Atzmon.

Naively I agreed, not knowing much about him and not having much time to decide. Then I cancelled. Then I backtracked and reinstated the event, but I have decided, finally, to formally cancel this event. This decision was surprisingly hard to make, and I would like to explain how we came to it, and why it was important to do so.

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