States of Independence 2019 - Saturday 23 March


Free of charge | 10.30am - 4.30pm | Open to all

Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Oxford Street (entrance on Bonners Lane), Leicester LE1 5XY

Workshops | Readings | Panels | Seminars | Book launches

Bookstalls | Independent presses | Regional writers

Fiction | Non-fiction | Poetry | Plays | Artist books | Magazines | Journals


The tenth States of Independence will take place on Saturday 23 March 2019 at Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Leicester.

The full 2019 programme will be published here when it has been finalised. In the meantime, events booked so far are listed below.

States also includes a free bookfair representing dozens of publishers from the region and beyond.

About | Information | Organisers


About States of Independence

Independent publishing | Independent writing | Independent thinking

A book festival in a day

This year's States of Independence is our tenth. It's a book festival in a day, a marketplace, a conference, a chance to relax and listen to some readings, an opportunity to argue about issues in the industry and to meet with independent presses from across the region.

States of Independence supports independent thinking, independent writing and independent presses. Join us for the day or an hour. Attend lots of events - you will be spoiled for choice - or just one, or simply come along and browse through the twenty or so bookstalls to see what the independent sector is publishing.

As always there will be poetry and fiction readings and industry panels discussing current hot topics

States of Independence is a free event, underwritten by Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and the Centre for Creative Writing at De Montfort University, with the support of over fifty writers and over thirty presses.

All sessions are free, no tickets required.
Just turn up and stay for an hour or two, or the whole day.

States of Independence is organised and funded by Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and the Creative Writing Team at De Montfort University, Leicester.


The Book Fair and all readings take place in the Clephan Building, Oxford Street (entrance on Bonners Lane), Leicester LE1 5XY

Public transport and car parking information on the De Montfort University website. Clephan Building is five minutes from Leicester city centre and fifteen minutes from the train station. On-site parking is only available for stall holders and speakers, sorry.

All events are free, no tickets required

Bookstalls are on the ground floor

Events take place on second and third floors - there are lifts. Please allow ten minutes to get to the correct room

There will be an information point as you come in to Clephan Building

All rooms are accessible. Please get in touch if you have any special access requirements

Catering: Clephan Building is very close to the city centre, cafes, shops and pubs. We can only provide vending machines on site. There is a cafe four or five minutes from the main site - look out for posters – selling light refreshments, excellent cakes and light lunches.

For further information please contact, 0115 837 3097

2019 Programme

Please note, these times are subject to confirmation. This website will be updated if necessary and a full printed programme will be available on the day.

Crime fiction, with John Harvey
John Harvey has been a leading voice in British crime writing for decades. His latest novel is Body & Soul. Here, his detective Frank Elder, finds that his own daughter might be a victim of crime, but she might also be a murderer. It's his job to prove her innocence.
Alan Baker and Deborah Tyler-Bennett reading
Alan Baker - reading also as part of Red Ceilings - will be reading from his new collection Riverrun, a set of sonnets about the Trent "when the May-flies rise in the sun"; Deborah Tyler-Bennett will be reading from Mr Bowlly Regrets, also set in the East Midlands, with subjects including the women who comb the obituaries of their local press to the lads from tiny Leicestershire communities who died at Flanders.
Sabrina Mei-Li Smith, ‘The Holy Bible’ or “What happened to that Richey bloke from the Manic Street Preachers?”
Sabrina Mei-Li Smith has worked with Derby Theatre, Tamasha and ‘In Good Company’ to produce a biographical play about Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers focussing on the under-documented time he spent in Roehampton’s Priory Hospital in 1994. Sabrina will talk about her use of a memory box of 1990s alternative music scene memorabilia, and the genre of biofiction.
What are Universities for? How should they be governed?
The various crises - financial and otherwise - at universities throughout Britain, together with the implications of last year's pension strikes by university lecturers, have called into play some serious discussions about the future of individual universities and that of higher education as a whole.
Writers Workshopping Manuscripts
Leicester Writers' Club (Michelle Houghton), Soundswrite women's publishing group (Jayne Stanton), and The Speculators (Jay Eales) discuss how to get the best out of your writing working within a group crit scheme. Siobhan Logan from the DMU Creative Writing Team moderates the discussion.
A reading from Norman Erikson Pasaribu - our international guest
Norman is a writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Dubbed by English PEN as ‘part of a long tradition of queer Catholic writing’, his first book of poems Sergius Seeks Bacchus won a PEN Translates Award. He won the Young Author Award from the Southeast Asia Literary Council. He is one of most the most celebrated young writers in Indonesia today.
Joni Mitchell: critical listening
In this sound and image-illustrated talk, Ruth Charnock looks at Joni Mitchell’s work as a musician, composer, cultural commentator and antagonist, thinking particularly about Mitchell’s album Blue and its depiction of desire, free love, and the late ’60s, whilst also exploring Mitchell’s wider cultural contributions and significance.
Longbarrow Press poetry reading with Mark Goodwin
Divided into four ‘compasses’, Mark's Rock as Gloss offers a variety of approaches to ‘the rock in hand’ (whether gritstone or slate), or the fell under foot (whether on or off the map), and enacts a dialogue with the culture and literature of climbing and fell-walking, speaking to (and through) Menlove Edwards, Ted Hughes, Coleridge and others.
Shieldmaidens, with Marianne Whiting
States of Independence's in-house Viking takes to the stage to conclude the series of Shieldmaidens - where a young Viking woman picks up her sword and goes in search of retribution and justice as the English are fighting the Norse for supremacy. Worship of the old Norse gods is challenged by Christianity. Traditional loyalties are tested and revenge can be swift.
Dyslexia and Creative Writing
Jane Adams, Rod Duncan and Yevgeny Salisbury are all dyslexic, and all are writers... Rod being a crime and Steampunk (ish) novelist, Jane writes crime fiction and Yev is a poet. All have the positive message of "yes, you can", but this session also looks at issues around dyslexia.
Over the Water - writing from the Irish in Britain
Deirdre O'Byrne, Laurie Cusack and Graham Caveney discuss what it means to be second generation Irish in Britain, and how second (and third) generation Irish writers in this country reflect their lives here.
Never Again: Rock against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League 1976-1982
David Renton revisits the biggest mass campaign against fascism since the 1930s, and the music culture from which it came. He will also suggest that it was a campaign for its time that cannot be replicated in opposing racism and fascism now.
Shoestring Press poetry with Tony Roberts and Michael Bartholemew-Biggs
Michael's latest collection Poems in the Case, is, perhaps, unique in that it is a murder mystery in which two poets from a poetry workshop are mysteriously bumped off following doubts about the authenticity of some poems by a former member! Tony Roberts' Drawndark reflects with compassion and humour on William Faulkner’s paradox: that the past is neither dead, nor even past; hence the immediacy of Roberts’ portrayal of a gallery of writers, artists and composers (from seventeenth century Holland to 1950s Harlem).
Mantle Arts combined book launch
Mantle Lane Press has been publishing the work of new and emerging Midlands-based writers for the last five years. The books are published in a pocketbook format similar to the Penguin 80s series, and have covers by visual artists and illustrators new to book design.
We are launching three new books this March: two collections of short stories: A Painting for a Blind Man by Valentine William and A Change of Direction by Frances Thimann; along with Submerged a novella by Garrie Fletcher.
Book Illustration
What is the art of book illustration? How do images and writing strike up a dialogue? How do illustrators work with authors? Join Illustrators Julian Pinnick and Will Wright to discuss their craft, inspirations, and share samples of their work.
The Spanish Revolution #1
Iain McKay takes us back to Spain in the 1930s where anarchists occupied the factories and the land, to make a revolution at the same time as fighting Franco's fascists. And within that revolution, the women of Mujeres Libre fought also for the liberation of women.
Launch of ‘Take Three’ Volume 1 – debut poetry collections by Pippa Hennessy, Elizabeth Hourston and Tuesday Shannon
Come and enjoy three unique voices taking us from hot summer nights in town to what quantum theory can tell us about the human condition, and then off to the wild landscapes of the Orkneys. This is the first in a Soundswrite Press series featuring emerging women poets from the East Midlands.
Don't Mention the War? Writing about World War II
Clare Harvey has written a series of popular fiction books set during World War II. In this talk and reading she will discuss researching that period and how to tell a universal story within a particular time setting that, for most of us, is beyond living memory.
Dr Strangely Strange and Dublin Psychedelia!
Adrian Whittaker - author of a book on this 1960s band - takes us on a trip to a different country and a different time to discuss the unlikely flowering of psychedelic rock music using this band as the main example. Sound and visually illustrated of course.
Exploring Identity in Fiction through Readings and a Literary Quiz
Identity is a common theme in fiction, but what does it actually mean? Author, book blogger and former psychologist, Anne Goodwin invites you to explore the concept through extracts from classical and contemporary novels and readings from her own first short story collection, Becoming Someone. Test your literary knowledge in the quiz by identifying the sources of the quotations.
Shearsman poetry reading with Geraldine Clarkson
Shearsman - always our furthest travelled stall-holder! - presents a reading by Geraldine who comes from a family of ten, and her poetry is influenced by her roots in the West of Ireland, and years which she spent in monastic life, including three years in the Peruvian desert. Her chapbook, Declare, was a Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice.
Diversity in Publishing
Carol Leeming, Farhana Shaikh and Selina Lock discuss one of the most important issues in modern publishing - how do we get the industry to reflect the country we live in, in its staffing, in its publishing. Race, class, gender... there's work to be done. Chaired by Nicola Valentine.
Red Ceilings reading with Andrew Taylor, Martin Stannard and Alan Baker
Red Ceilings is (are??) a new, Derbyshire publisher, specialising in producing small runs of rather beautiful A6 pamphlets by published writers, with an emphasis on experimental writing. Three of their first set of writers read today.
Demon Crew
Come and hear DMU Creative Writers, undergrad and postgrad, read from work in a variety of genres and forms. YA fiction, Memoir, SF, Lit Fic, Weird Fic, poetry – we have it all!
Grimalkin Ghostly Hour
Grimalkin Books returns with more ghosts and other strangeness. Join authors Stuart Hill, Martyn Carey and Jane Adams for dark tales to make you shiver.
The Spanish Revolution #2
The Media Discourse Centre at DMU present a session on "Spain: crisis, history and protest" looking at the various protest, housing and social movements in modern Spain.

Bookstalls and displays from publishers across the East Midlands and beyond: