An Independent Book Shop, A Radical Book Fair and A Brave Opening Speaker


Word Power books in Edinburgh’s West Nicolson Street is a leading, quality, independent bookshop.

On their website they say:

The world of books is a precious resource: books are not commodities to be marketed on the shelves alongside baked beans. The range of books we offer gives you fast track entrance to a world of publishing outwith the mainstream, a world where independent publishers, small presses, new writers with no prior sales history, individuals producing their own zines all have an equal voice and sit happily alongside Stupid White Men or No Logo on the shelves.’

Don’t worry if you don’t live in Edinburgh, you can access their stock online at the above link. Why bother? Well, as they say themselves:

‘Our world-wide online service is an alternative to corporate bookshops that refuse to allow their workers to join trade unions. Unlike Amazon, recipient of £1.6 million taxpayers’ money from the Scottish Executive (The Bookseller, 28 May 2004), we receive no state funding.

 While our site offers you access to all books in print in the UK we remain committed to promoting literature outwith the mainstream thereby making it more accessible and helping to support small presses and new writers. We also provide Platform, a regular column for groups, campaigns or individuals to post articles and foster debate, and a Noticeboard where you can post information and details of events.’

 If you can get to Edinburgh, then the following event, organised by Word Power books may well be of interest:


Taking place from Wednesday 27th to Sunday 31st October 2010 in Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30-38 Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh, EH6 8RG, Scotland, UK.

 There you can also see Still Life: An Exhibition. This exhibition will be on throughout the 14th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair. Still Life is an initiative by the inspirational Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (Red Ribbon Organisation) of Namibia, a youth arts organisation which seeks to use the performing and visual arts as a means to engage, inform and empower young people about HIV/AIDS and related social issues. Namibia has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world and OYO’s work with children and young people has received international acclaim. The exhibition has travelled throughout Namibia and been presented in schools, school hostels and community venues reaching over 35,000 people.


 And here I must declare a personal interest in the book fair because a very dear friend of mine, Ilan Pappe, opens the Book Fair at 7.00pm on the 27th. He’ll discuss his new book Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel and Gaza  which is co -written with Noam Chomsky. Plus there will be an illustrated talk with William Parry on his book against the Wall: the Art of Resistance in Palestine.

 Ilan is a Jewish Israeli and is one of the world’s leading historians of the Middle East, with a distinctive view of Arab-Israeli relations. He is a Professor in the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, the Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies in Exeter and the Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. He was the academic head and founder of the Institute for Peace Studies in Givat Haviva, Israel (1992-2000) and the Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa (2000-2008).

 I was at school with Ilan’s wife, also an Israeli, and have visited them both in Israel. Taking the political stance that they do – i.e. pro-Palestinian – is not without risk and I so admire their courage. Ilan can no longer work freely in Israel and so took the chair at Exeter. I have learned a lot about the politics of the Middle East from these two wonderful people – and their message, and that of other brave people like them, needs to be heard.

If you are unsure about the ins and outs of the modern state of Israel, and you would like to learn more about the situation there, then consider reading Ilan’s book,  A History of Modern Palestine

 Ilan’s opener event will be followed at 8.30pm by a short illustrated talk by William Parry  who recently published Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine  which captures the graffiti and art that has transformed Israel’s wall into a living canvas of resistance and solidarity. It features the work of artists including Banksy as well as Palestinian artists and activists.

Whatever your views on the politics of the Middle East – do, please, at least, visit Word Power’s website and consider buying, at least some, of your books from them in future.

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