1720. Blue Mountains, windward Jamaica. In the sweltering heat Captain Shettlewood leads a troop of British soldiers through the thick trees towards the river. They are hunting slaves who have escaped from the brutal plantations. Their mission: to find them, and kill them. But up ahead, hidden among the rocks above the water, a group of men with cutlasses and muskets wait patiently for the instructions of their leader.

Queen Nanny is a ‘wise woman’ with a reputation for ancient obeah magic, and a guerilla fighter with a genius … More

First publlished OTD in 1914, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists, a semi-biographical novel by the Irish house painter & sign writer Robert Noonan, who wrote the book in his spare time under the pen name Robert Tressell. Clearly frustrated at the refusal of his contemporaries to recognise the inequity and iniquity of society, Tressell’s cast of hypocritical Christians, exploitative capitalists & corrupt councillors provide a backdrop for his main target—the workers who think that a better life is “not for the likes of them”. Hence the title of the book; Tressell paints the workers as “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages to generate profit for their masters.

One of the characters, Frank Owen, is a socialist who tries to convince his fellow workers that capitalism is the … More

Tim Quelch takes a nostalgic look back on a 60s childhood and early adulthood immersed in Sussex sport. Hastings United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Sussex County Cricket Club were his three great loves, his passion for football ignited by United’s plucky 1953/54 giant-killing side that came tantalisingly close to a fifth-round FA Cup clash with Arsenal. Later, Brighton secured Tim’s lasting loyalty when he witnessed their brave 1961 FA Cup battle with First Division champions Burnley.

That same year, Tim was captivated by explosive Sussex batsman Ted Dexter and mesmerised by West Indian fast bowler Wes … More

Next book reading is with one of the Stop the War coalition founders, Chris Nineham. Monday, 10th February at St Mary in the Castle. 6pm. £2 OTD. “The state – from the civil service to the security services to the police – is often viewed as part of our democratic system, together with parliament, but this ignores the crucial fact that it predates anything resembling democracy in this country. There were extensions of the franchise in 1832, 1867 and 1884, but universal suffrage was not a reality until 1928. A unitary and cohesive state developed much earlier than even the start of that slow process of expanding the suffrage.”

What happens if a radical government gets elected in Britain? How will the banks, the civil servants, the media and … More

Mod Ghosts focuses on the second, longest & most well observed of Mod’s three extended summers, which began in 1979. This is not a Mod book – it is a book about Mod. It is also about history, belonging, identity & the never-ending task of growing up. Above all, Mod Ghosts is about the relationship all of these things have with place. Juxtaposing photographs from the period with shots of the same location in the present day.

Shots of Hastings’ Mods from local modernist John Gale; as well as others from Epping, Ipswich, Stoke, Guernsey and of … More

‘Walking with my Iguana’ is a classic poem by Brian Moses about when he saw someone walking their iguana along the seafront at Bexhill-on-Sea. We’ve worked together to make a fantastic picture book version of the poem, published by Troika. It is a lovely book for young children – full of rhythm, repetition and a lot of laughs! Ed Boxall.

New childrens book by local writer Brian Moses and local illustrator Ed Boxall available in store and online.

From heart-stopping accounts of apparitions, manifestations and related supernatural phenomena to first-hand encounters with ghouls and spirits, this collection of stories contains new and well-known spooky tales from in and around Hastings. Drawing on historical and contemporary sources Haunted Hastings contains a chilling range of ghostly phenomena. From the haunted staircase at Hastings library in Claremont and the singing spectre of Hastings College, to the mysterious witches’ footsteps in the Stag Inn and the phantom coach and horses that gallops up the High Street on a dark winter’s night, this phenomenal gathering of ghostly goings-on is bound to captivate anyone interested in the supernatural history of the area.

Available in store and online.

Following on from The Stone Tide, Gareth Rees’ ‘Car Park Life’, is out now. Car parks: commonplace urban landscapes, little-explored & rarely featured in art and music, yet they shape the aesthetics of our towns & cities. Hotspots for crime, rage & sexual deviancy; a blind spot in which activities go unnoticed. Skateboarding, car stunts, drug dealing, dogging, murder. Gareth Rees believes that the retail car park has as much mystery, magic & terror as any mountain, meadow or wood. He’s out to prove it by walking the car parks of Britain, journeying across the country from Plymouth to Edinburgh, much to the horror of his family, friends – and, most of all – himself.

He finds Sir Francis Drake outside B&Q, standing stones in a retail park, and a dead body beside Sainsbury’s. In … More

From heart-stopping accounts of apparitions, manifestations and related supernatural phenomena to first-hand encounters with ghouls and spirits, this collection of stories contains new and well-known spooky tales from in and around Hastings. Drawing on historical and contemporary sources Haunted Hastings contains a chilling range of ghostly phenomena.

From the haunted staircase at Hastings library in Claremont and the singing spectre of Hastings College, to the mysterious witches’ … More

Book launch tomorrow of ‘Stolen’ with Grace Blakeley at St Mary in the Castle. 6pm. “Stolen tells the story of how and why this financialization occurred, what it means for our society and politics, and what the left can do to fight it. At present, the odds are stacked against labour and in favour of finance capital. But what follows it will be determined by which group — the many or the few — manages to take power in this moment of crisis. How we understand this moment, and what we do with it, will determine the course of the future.”

Available in store and online.