Born OTD in 1883, Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, Franz Kafka. Like Orwell, Kafka has given his name to a world of nightmare, but in Kafka’s world, it is never completely clear just what the nightmare is. The Trial, where the rules are hidden from even the highest officials, and if there is any help to be had, it will come from unexpected sources, is a chilling, blackly amusing tale that maintains, to the very end, a relentless atmosphere of disorientation. Superficially about bureaucracy, it is in the last resort a description of the absurdity of ‘normal’ human nature.

Still more enigmatic is The Castle. Is it an allegory of a quasi-feudal system giving way to a new freedom…

Now And Then is not merely a collection of a songwriter’s lyrics; the song-poems of this undisputed ‘bluesologist’ triumphantly stand on their own, evoking the rhythm and urgency which have distinguished Gil Scott-Heron’s career. This collection of poems carries the reader from the global topics of political hypocrisy and the dangers posed by capitalist culture to painfully personal themes and the realities of everyday life.

His message is black, political, historically accurate, urgent, uncompromising and mature and as relevant now as ever. Available in store…

‘To Sir, With Love’, is a 1959 autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite set in the East End of London. The novel is based on true events concerned with Braithwaite taking up a teaching post in a school there. In 1945, Rick Braithwaite, a smart, highly educated ex-RAF pilot, looks for a job in British engineering. He is deeply shocked to realise that, as a black man from British Guiana, no one will employ him because of the colour of his skin..

.. In desperation he turns to teaching, taking a job in a tough East End school, and left to govern…

Born OTD in 1880, American author, political activist, & lecturer, Hellen Keller. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. A biography of an American radical & her long life campaigning as a crusading socialist. “Keller is blind, deaf & dumb , yet in her blindness she sees oppression, in her deafness she hears the cry of outraged humanity, and in her speechlessness she voice the demand for justice.”

Features political writings and speeches for women’s suffrage, in defence of the IWW and against the First World War. ‘I…

Born OTD in 1869, Lithuanian anarchist political activist & writer, Emma Goldman. Goldman was well known during her life, described as, among other things, “the most dangerous woman in America”. In essays like “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism” & a speech entitled “The Failure of Christianity”, Goldman made more than a few enemies among religious communities by attacking their moralistic attitudes & efforts to control human behavior. She blamed Christianity for “the perpetuation of a slave society”, arguing that it dictated individuals’ actions on Earth & offered poor people a false promise of a plentiful future in heaven. She was also critical of Zionism, which she saw as another failed experiment in state control.

A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and radical icon Emma Goldman’s extraordinary life, this graphic biography embodies the richness…

Author of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in 1960s Florida. Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict & clear-sighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time & the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, & so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide ‘physical, intellectual & moral training’ which will equip its inmates to become ‘honorable & honest men’. In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional & sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials & tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, & where any boy who resists is likely to disappear ‘out back’.

Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s ringing assertion, ‘Throw us…

‘I really liked this book. I’d forgotten how shit it was in the seventies’ Paul Weller The Jam released their debut single, ‘In The City’, in May 1977. At that time, no-one was happy in Britain, particularly not in Ian Stone’s house. He was fourteen and his days consisted of going to school, watching Arsenal play terrible football and listening to his parents’ marriage disintegrating. Outside, the country was divided – by racism, violence, inner-city riots, police corruption, unemployment and terrorism. But late one evening in 1978, Ian’s eyes and ears were opened to an entirely new world..

..The Jam walked onstage at London’s Music Machine to a huge roar, and launched into ninety blistering minutes of some…

Born OTD in 1914, English poet, novelist and screenwriter, Laurie Lee. A moving, never-before-published portrait of the landscape that shaped the life of Laurie Lee, the beloved author of Cider With Rosie’. Before I left the valley I thought everywhere was like this. Then I went away for 40 years and when I came back I realized that nowhere was like this. ‘Laurie Lee walked out of his childhood village one summer morning to travel the world, but he was always drawn back to his beloved Slad Valley, eventually returning to make it his home.

In this portrait of his Cotswold home, Laurie Lee guides us through its landscapes, and shares memories of his village…

Born OTD in 1903, English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, George Orwell. “..What had happened was that the whole moneyed class, unwilling to face a change in their way of life, had shut their eyes to the nurture of Fascism and modern war. And false optimism was fed to the general public by the gutter press, which lives on its advertisements an is therefore interested in keeping trade conditons normal..”

George Orwell’s moving reflections on the English character and his passionate belief in the need for political change. The Lion…

A scarlet wheel on a blue and green flag, bright against the grey sky. Gisela leaned against the stone balustrade, tired after the journey. She’d forgotten how hectic London was, and wondered how she’d ever managed to cope with the daily commute… But she was glad she’d come. Glad she’d brought Andrej. It was important for her young son to know his roots.

Spokes is made up of stories from across the Traveller world featuring British Gypsies, settled and still travelling; Irish Travellers;…