Brixton BookJam on 8 July

Brixton BookJam

“The Brixton BookJam is an eclectic gathering for people who are passionate about books and the written word. It’s a mix of readings, talks and panels, chatting and socialising.”

If you think that sounds good, come along this Monday, 8 July! I’ll be joining the fun, doing a reading stint along with 10-12 other writers. MC for the evening will be comedian Ivor Dembina.

The Hootananny pub is at 95 Effra Road in Brixton,
London SW2 1DF. Doors open at 7.30, readings start at 8. Keep in mind that this is all free!

I’ve been going to this pub for many years, back to its previous incarnations as the George Canning and the Hobgoblin. It’s been a site of  diverse musical interludes, adventures and misadventures. So it’ll be a thrill to do a little turn there at last.

Meanwhile, I want to thank everyone who came to our launch last Thursday at the Review Bookshop in Peckham. The place was packed out, and it was standing room only. Many had traveled from far-flung places including Portsmouth, Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford and Norwich (not to mention Hackney and Wood Green).

I think it was a good idea to launch several (well, five) books together, which turned it into a major event. Our able MC Allen Ashley joked that a bomb falling on the Review Bookshop that night would obliterate most of the slipstream and indie publishing world.

However, I’m pleased to say that the evening went ahead without any untoward incidents.  I’m only sorry I didn’t get a chance to chat with everyone.


If you didn’t make it the launch, you might be interested in this special deal from PS, featuring a reduced price if you order Helen’s Story and Nina Allan’s new book Stardust together. This applies to unsigned and signed editions. It’s still up on the PS website, but it will be available for a limited time only.

4 responses to “Brixton BookJam on 8 July

  1. Here’s a belated report on the Brixton BookJam. The reading on 8 July marked the first birthday of this burgeoning quarterly event, I’ve done readings before – launches, conventions, a literary festival. But this book jam was indeed different. For one thing, there were about a 100 people there. A real stage. Ulp.

    As mentioned it takes place in the Hootananny, a pub I’ve lurked about for years, especially in the 80s/90s when it was still the George Canning and hang-out for a motley crew of Brixton denizens.

    When I attended a gypsy punk event at this pub recently, I was bemused by a toilet attendant in the ladies proclaiming “This is a happy toilet! This is a happy toilet!” as she handed out squares of bog roll. An attendant in the former Canning in itself is a rather bizarre concept.

    But I was pleased to find that despite the name changes and the Saturday night toilet attendant, some of the essential character of this pub remains. I ran into a few familiar faces, some last seen at the Thatcher death celebration. Throughout the free readings, regulars from the pub wandered in from outside, adding to a lively atmosphere.

    Despite some initial nervousness, my reading went fine. It’s a generally friendly down-to-earth event. With a good roster of readers doing their schtick for only five minutes, you get a good sampling of genres and styles. Even if other literary events leave you cold, you might enjoy this one.

    Just to mention a few highlights: In the spirit of the setting, Harys Francke read a series of recollections of Brixton life in the early 80s, centred around pubs (ah, remember the Railway). Tom Pollock read from the forthcoming second instalment of his Skyscraper Throne trilogy, The Glass Republic, and another foray into urban fantasy came from Irenosen Okojie. Later an impromptu open mic session developed, starting with a few gags from our excellent MC Ivor Dembina, known for his series on old Jewish jokes and a solo show about the Middle East.

    Keep an eye out for future book jams. In addition to the events at the Hootananny the Brixton BookJam does slots at literary festivals, plus the Lambeth Country Show.

  2. PS: Yes, Owlwoman, it’s great these events are well-attended. The thing I liked about the BookJam is that it didn’t have the elite atmosphere you sometimes find at literary events. It was happening right in the community and it was part of it.

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