Kerry Hudson is proudly working class but she was never proudly poor. The poverty she grew up in was all-encompassing, grinding & often dehumanising. Always on the move with her single mother, Kerry attended nine primary schools & five secondaries, living in B&Bs & council flats. She scores eight out of ten on the Adverse Childhood Experiences measure of childhood trauma. Twenty years later, Kerry’s life is unrecognisable. She’s a prizewinning novelist who has travelled the world. She has a secure home, a loving partner & access to art, music, film & books. But she often finds herself looking over her shoulder, caught somehow between two worlds.

Lowborn is Kerry’s exploration of where she came from. She revisits the towns she grew up in to try to … More

Born OTD in 1925, British pilot, politician, writer, & diarist, Tony Benn. Benn’s forward in Hastings’ much-loved writer, Robert Tressell’s novel, ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ reads: “..I have given this book to many, many people in the course of my life & all the recipents have been inspired by it as I have been. Every generation has to fight the same battles again and again, an every time it is the confidence of the campaigners that determines the speed of their success.”

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a classic representation of the impoverished and politically powerless underclass of British society in Edwardian … More

Next PM Book Club we’ll be discussing Nicholas Shaxson’s ‘Treasure Islands’. Monday, 11th March 6pm at the shop. New members welcomed. A thrilling ride inside the world of tax havens and corporate masterminds While the United States experiences recession and economic stagnation and European countries face bankruptcy, experts struggle to make sense of the crisis. Nicholas Shaxson, a former correspondent for the Financial Times and The Economist, argues that tax havens are a central cause of all these disasters.

In this hard hitting investigation he uncovers how offshore tax evasion, which has cost the U.S. 100 billion dollars in … More

Born OTD in 1802, Victor Hugo. Hugo was at the forefront of the Romantic literary movement & many of his works have inspired music, both during his lifetime & after his death, including the musicals Notre-Dame de Paris & Les Misérables. He produced more than 4,000 drawings in his lifetime, & campaigned for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment. Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo’s views changed as the decades passed, & he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political & social issues & the artistic trends of his time. Hugo began planning a major novel about social misery & injustice as early as the 1830s, but a full 17 years were needed for Les Misérables to be realised and finally published in 1862.

Victor Hugo’s tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put … More

Born OTD in 1923, the late great Harry Leslie Smith. Harry was an English writer and political commentator. He grew up in poverty in Yorkshire, served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, & emigrated to Canada in 1953. After retiring, Smith wrote his memoirs, and about the social history of Great Britain in the 20th century.

A survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War veteran, a lifelong Labour supporter and a proud Yorkshire man, … More

First published OTD in 1848, The Communist Manifesto. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth (2018), at a time of deep mistrust in The Establishment, The Communist Manifesto is both a timely reminder of the politics of hope and a thought-provoking guide to the most influential work of political theory ever published.

Much of what Marx and Engels’ proposed – a state education system, a progressive income tax, the nationalisation of banks … More

We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with questions about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money, and yet no political party of the right or left is providing us with answers. Rutger Bregman, a bestselling Dutch historian, explains that it needn’t be this way. Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilization – from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy – was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.

This guide to a revolutionary yet achievable utopia is supported by multiple studies, lively anecdotes and numerous success stories. From … More

Born OTD in 1876, John Griffith London, AKA Jack London. The People of the Abyss is a book by Jack London about life in the East End of London in 1902. He wrote this first-hand account after living in the East End for several weeks, sometimes staying in workhouses or sleeping on the streets. In his attempt to understand the working-class of this deprived area of London the author stayed as a lodger with a poor family. The conditions he experienced and wrote about were the same as those endured by an estimated 500,000 of the contemporary London poor.

As well as being a literary masterpiece, The People of the Abyss stands as a major sociological study. While other … More

Born OTD in 1961, Indian author, political activist involved in human rights & environmental causes, Arundhati Roy. In Capitalism: A Ghost Story, Roy examines the dark side of Indian democracy a nation of 1.2 billion, where the country’s 100 richest people own assets worth one quarter of India’s gross domestic product. Ferocious & clear-sighted, this is a searing portrait of a nation haunted by ghosts: the hundreds of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide to escape punishing debt; the hundreds of millions who live on less than two dollars a day.

It is the story of how the largest democracy in the world, with over 800 million voting in the last … More