British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the Year (2018)
Five Leaves Bookshop is located at the quiet end of an alley just off of the busy thoroughfare of Market Square. It has been described as 'a must-visit destination' (The Independent) and 'wonderful, idiosyncratic' (New Walk Magazine). It describes itself as independent, radical, and orientated towards independent presses. The shop views its purpose as following in the tradition of Nottingham's 'rebel writers,' such as DH Lawrence and Lord Byron, and 'radical bookshop' owners, such as Susannah Wright. And states: 'we are radical in that the shop supports those who want to change the world for the better . . . Independent publishing, independent thinking, independent writing. That's good enough for us.'
In keeping with this tradition, the bookshop stocks a large range of books not typically found in a chain seller or your average high street shop, including sections on Jewish interest, The Beats, Roma, self-help, counselling and psychotherapy, creative writing, landscape/cityscape, poetry, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, travel writing, politics, feminism, counterculture, international writing, social history, and a section devoted to Nottingham and its writers. The shop also sells 60-70 magazine titles. In some cases, they are the only shop in the region stocking certain titles, and in other cases, they are the only shop in the UK to stock a title. There is a small children's section, as well as gift items, greeting cards, and book bags.
The bookshop notes that its survival is an oddity in a time when many bookshops are closing. They were the first independent bookshop to open in a city centre this century, and have thrived, regardless of high street economic conditions, by prioritising customers, working hard to partner and collaborate with community groups, offering a wide and interesting range of publications, hosting events, and listening to customer interests.
Events hosted at the shop include poetry and book readings, lectures, readings in multiple languages, showcases, festivals, and performances.
The bookshop is a bit hidden in its alley location, and somewhat small and unassuming, but it is a friendly, likeable space, of particular interest to those looking for rare titles, diverse writers, owners with a deep sense of purpose, and out of the ordinary events.