Events


How to Find a Literary Agent: tips and advice from Kiya Evans of Mushens Entertainment

Tips and advice from Kiya Evans of Mushens Entertainment
April 30th, 7pm / £5 / Brick Lane Bookshop

Join us for an exclusive event featuring Kiya Evans, a literary agent from Mushens Entertainment and one of the judges of the 2023 Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize, as she shares invaluable insights and expertise on navigating the world of literary representation.

Whether you’re an aspiring author seeking guidance on securing representation or a seasoned writer looking to refine your approach, Kiya will provide insider tips and actionable advice to help you find the right literary agent for your manuscript. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a professional from a leading literary agency who represent the like of Richard Osman and take the next step towards realizing your publishing goals.

She’ll be joined by Kate Ellis, founder and co-ordinator of the Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize.


Reading East London with Alan Dein

A new monthly book club exploring the depiction of London’s East End
Beginning 09/04/24, 7pm

Oral historian & radio broadcaster Alan Dein hosts a new monthly book club which will explore how the communities and the histories of the East End have been depicted in novels and non-fiction.

From old favourites to recent discoveries, Alan will take you on an extraordinary journey from the tailoring workshops of Brick Lane to the Victorian streets plagued by Jack the Ripper!

All titles discussed will be selected from the ‘East London Classics’ section in the shop, and will be available in advance.

All sessions will begin at 7pm at Brick Lane Bookshop


East End Stories at Brick Lane Bookshop: Volume III

Join us for lively evenings of miniature talks on lesser-known aspects of local history told by an eclectic selection of authors, social historians, and East London people.
25/04/2024, 7pm

Back to Brick Lane
Award winning author Rachel Lichtenstein (Rodinsky’s Room, Estuary) revisits On Brick Lane, her 2007 portrait of the street outside our door.

Dead Librarians!
Michelle Johanson, archivist of the Society of Antiquities, investigates something strange in the stacks.

The Victorian Settlement Movement in Ten Objects
Jessica Ihejetoh of Oxford House tells tales of reformers and rivalry!

Plus ‘This Month In Tower Hamlets’ and a prize quiz.


A Spitalfields Saunter

An alternative guided tour of one of the East End’s most popular destinations
06/05/2024, 12pm, £10 per ticket

On our alternative walking tour of this evocative area off Brick Lane, you’ll seek out rags and remnants the past has left behind, as you journey from a very small house to a very old one.

Warning; may include peanuts!


Creativity and Care in Writing: Rose Ruane, Marianne Brooker, and Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou

09/05/2024, 7pm, £5 per ticket

Join us for an intimate evening with Rose Ruane, the author of the much-anticipated novel Birding as she explores themes of duty, contrition, and queer love against the backdrop of a gentrifying seaside town. In conversation with Marianne Brooker, author of Intervals and hosted by Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou, this event promises to delve into the heart of creativity, care, and the blurred lines of self-perception. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with these compelling voices.

Rose Ruane is an author and artist who lives in Glasgow with her ever expanding collection of twentieth-century kitsch.

Marianne Brooker is based in Bristol, where she works for a charity campaigning on climate and social justice. She has a PhD from Birkbeck and a background in arts research and teaching. She won the 2021 Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize for Intervals, her first book.

Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou is a writer, the founding editor-in-chief and general arts editor of Lucy Writers, and has a PhD in English Literature from UCL. She regularly writes on art, dance and literature for magazines such as The London Magazine, The White Review, Elephant, Art Monthly, The Arts Desk, Burlington Contemporary, Plinth UK, Worms Magazine, and many others. From 2022-2023, Hannah managed an Arts Council England-funded project for emerging women and non-binary writers from migrant backgrounds, titled What the Water Gave Us.


Short Stories and Crisis: The Unreliable Nature Writer

11/06/2024, 7pm, £5 per ticket

Join us as we host three of the country’s most electric short story authors for the launch of Claire Carroll’s debut collection, The Unreliable Nature Writer, published by Scratch Books. This will undoubtedly be an inspirational evening for fans of the short story scene and any person who values literary experimentation.

Claire Carroll lives in Somerset and writes experimental fiction about the intersection of nature, technology, and desire. Her short stories and poetry have been published by journals including Gutter Magazine, perverse, Lunate Journal, The Oxonian Review, and Short Fiction Journal, as well as shortlisted for The White Review’s Short Story Prize.

Saba Sams is a fiction writer based in London. Her stories have appeared in The Stinging Fly and The Tangerine. She was shortlisted for The White Review Short Story Prize in 2019. Her debut collection of short stories Send Nudes was published by Bloomsbury in 2022.

Ben Pester’s debut short story collection Am I in the Right Place? was published in 2021 by Boiler House Press, and was long listed for the 2022 Edge Hill Prize. His work has appeared in the London Magazine, INQUE, Hotel, Five Dials, and elsewhere. When not writing fiction, he is a technical writer. He lives with his family in North London.


Shani Akilah in Conversation with Jendella Benson

20/06/2024, 7pm, £5 per ticket

Join us as we welcome Shani Akilah, in conversation with Jendella Benson, to celebrate the release of Shani’s debut short story collection For Such A Time As This.

“Gabby and Jonathan cross paths at the wedding of a mutual friend. They both wonder if this could be the start of something, but fate has other ideas. When Niah tries to call out her employer for their empty words about diversity and inclusion, she comes face to face with racism reaching right to the very top. Sharna is holding onto her own secret when she sets out for Jamaica to visit her grandfather, on a trip that throws fresh light onto the family history she has always taken for granted.”

A richly imagined collection of linked stories that brings to life the stories of young Black-British Londoners as they explore friendship and romance, community and independence, and navigate their way through the relationships that make them who they are.

Shani Akilah is a Black-British writer from South London of Caribbean heritage (Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica). She is an avid reader and book blogger and was spotlighted as a ‘Key Black Influencer’ by DoubleDay Books. Shani is passionate about community and bringing people together and is the co-founder of Nyah Network, a book club for black women and is also the founder of contributor based platform, Bankra, that explored the navigated identities of black millennials. Shani loves travelling, and has spent significant time in Ghana as part of her studies. Shani has a Masters degree in African Studies from Oxford University with research exploring counter-diasporic return and issues of home and belonging amongst second-generation British-Ghanaians. FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS is her debut short-story collection published by Magpie, Oneworld 13th June 2024. Follow Shani on Twitter. and on Instagram.

Jendella Benson is British-Nigerian author and editor. Her debut novel, Hope & Glory, was published in 2022 and she is Head of Editorial at Black Ballad – the award winning digital magazine and membership community for black women in Britain and beyond. Her second novel will be published in 2024 and she is currently working on her third.


East End Writers’ Workshop

Roger Mills hosts a fortnightly group for budding writers looking for constructive feedback in a welcoming environment

Want to write but don’t know where to start? Got a story to tell but can’t find the right words?

Join local author and writing tutor Roger Mills for practical exercises and constructive feedback in a friendly and encouraging atmosphere. All abilities are welcome – so whether you’re just starting out with a short story or making the final edits to your book local history, you’ll find these sessions the perfect place to give your work that extra something.


Events Archive

East London Strolls: ‘So, you want to go to Columbia Road?’

An alternative guided tour of one of the East End’s most popular destinations
March 31st / April 7th / April 14th, 12pm

So, you want to go to Columbia Road?  And who can blame you? That nice young couple with a baby, struggling to push a fully grown palm tree onto a number eight bus tells you you’re not far from Britain’s biggest flower and plant market, which only trades on Sunday mornings. But we’re not going to take the direct route. We’re going to follow some diverting diversions which show how much secret history can be found down some seemingly nondescript side-streets any day of the week.

‘Alan is the real thing, a genuine East-Ender who knows his material intimately and an extraordinary performer and writer.’ – Rachel Lichtenstein, author of ‘Estuary,’ ‘Diamond Street’ and ‘Rodinsky’s Room’ with Iain Sinclair.


East End Stories at Brick Lane Bookshop: Volume II

Join us for lively evenings of miniature talks on lesser-known aspects of local history told by an eclectic selection of authors, social historians, and East London people.
28/03/2024, 7pm

Baking History
Esther Rinkoff tells the story of a legendary family business that’s been making beigels in the East End for five generations.

The Smallest Show on Earth
BBC Radio’s Alan Dein buys a ticket for the shabbiest cinema in Stepney, owned by his grandparents!

Walk Tall
Film maker Kate Sullivan introduces the award-winning short film that’s a lesser-known legacy of the 2012 Olympics in East London.

Plus ‘This Month In Tower Hamlets’ and a prize quiz.


Arunava Sinha in Conversation with Tahmima Anam:
The Penguin Book of Bengali Short Stories

Join authors Arunava Sinha and Tahmima Anam as they discuss ‘The Penguin Book of Bengali Short Stories’, published on March 24th.
12/03/2024, 7pm, £5 per ticket

A first in English, this anthology gathers together a century’s worth of extraordinary stories. From a woman who eats fish in secret to the woes of an ageing local footballer, from the anxieties of a middle-class union rep to a lawyer who stumbles upon a philosopher’s stone, this is a collection that celebrates making art of life, in all its difficulty and joy.

Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction and non-fiction from Bangladesh and India into English. He also translates fiction from English into Bengali. Over eighty of his translations have been published so far in India, the UK and the USA. He teaches creative writing at Ashoka University, where he is also the co-director of the Ashoka Centre for Translation.

Tahmima Anam is a Bangladeshi-born British writer, novelist and columnist. Her first novel, A Golden Age, was the Best First Book winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes. Her follow-up novel, The Good Muslim, was nominated for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize. Her latest novel, The Startup Wife, was published by Canongate in 2021.


East End Stories at Brick Lane Bookshop: Volume I

Join us for lively evenings of miniature talks on lesser-known aspects of local history told by an eclectic selection of authors, social historians, and East London people.
29/02/2024, 7pm

Volume 1

Thursday February 29th, 7pm / Brick Lane Bookshop / £10

Streets Coloured Black and Blue
Award-winning author and historian Sarah Wise (The Blackest Streets, The Italian Boy) reveals how Charles Booth’s colour coded poverty maps of the Victorian East End paint a complex picture of life in ‘Outcast London’.

Decoding Tommy Flowers
Keith Jones decodes TOMMY FLOWERS, the enigmatic Poplar hero who made breaking the Enigma Code possible.

And your host, Alan Gilbey, presents ‘This Month in East End History’ with Stalin, sparrows, and Spring Heeled Jack, plus a prize quiz!


The Banglatown Walk

A stroll through the history of Bengali culture in the East End!
17/12/2023, 12pm

The Banglatown Walk is aimed at anybody interested in Bengali migration and settlement in the East End of London.

The participants will learn about the Bengali community’s history, heritage, cultural practices, and the lives of people who are of diverse backgrounds and experience different values and customs.

The experiences of Bengalis in the East End will provide a concrete example of the value of multiculturalism and the tensions it creates. The walk will look at the legacy of the British Empire and how the population of Britain has become rich & diverse through the twentieth century as migration occurred from the colonies.


Sunday Strolls: Activists, Militants, Pioneers -Women of the Radical Jewish East End

Sunday 19 November, 12pm

The first wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe towards the end of the 19th century, were mainly men but their families soon followed. In a period when many women fought for political and social equality in British society new immigrants were engaged too in everyday struggles in their workplaces, and on the streets in many campaigns within and beyond their community. On this walk you will discover the leading role played by women activists in the old country before emigration, and how their activism and pioneering spirit was recreated in the East End from the 1880s to the 1930s. You will meet trade union militants, anarchists and suffragettes, housing activists, health pioneers and social workers, communists and anti-fascists. They had diverse backgrounds but shared a refusal to accept second-class status in their own community and in society at large.


Stepney Words & Cockney Rebels

A day-long celebration of East End Writing in the 1970s
07/10/2023, Oxford House, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, E2 6HG

12pmA Bike Ride Through Black History with Basement Writer Keith Jones
4pm – A Writers’ Workout Workshop with local author Roger Mills
5pm SPECIAL GUEST Michael Rosen chats with Chris Searle
6pm – Eastside Stories Bring your own writing to share

6.30pm – 8.30pm – Down in the Basement

In 1971, 800 Stepney children staged a strike when their English teacher, Chris Searle, is sacked for publishing a book of their poetry that the school governors didn’t approve of. In 1973, Chris started ‘The Basement Writers’, a workshop group where locals of all ages could continue to tell their own stories.

Join ‘The Basement Writers’, Chris, and BBC broadcaster Alan Dein for ‘Down in the Basement’ a special 50th anniversary celebration of working-class writing with a rebellious East End spirit!

All day – Photographs, posters, and videos from 1970s East London, a Brick Lane Bookshop Stall, Oxford House archives, and refreshments!


Sunday Strolls: From the Nichol to the Boundary

The Story of London’s First Planned Council Estate
01/10/2023, 12pm

Behind Shoreditch High Street lies London’s first planned council estate – the Boundary Estate, opened by Edward VIII in 1900. It was created to provide clean, healthy and affordable homes to the working poor – and replaced the infamous Old Nichol slum that stood on this spot.

On this 90-minute walk, historian Sarah Wise tells the story of the creation of the estate, and reveals why the Old Nichol had to die.


Sunday Strolls: A Cache of Diamonds

Dan Glass takes us on a fierce tour of Whitechapel’s queer history!
24/09/2023, 12pm

Ever wanted to learn more about the queer history of East London? Dan Glass, author of ‘Queer Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Fierce History‘, is here to guide you.

Whitechapel has a treasure chest of stories connecting across communities of class, religion, gender and sexuality. For centuries these communities have defied the knocks on our doors by authorities intent on rooting out public queer life. Don’t let the narrow streets in our pilgrimage give you the wrong impression – the impacts of queer life here are so huge, that they are felt across the world.

Join in for top tips for creating spaces that celebrate our queer lineage. Come learn from the Bethnal Green Acid Drag Commune, Red Lesbian Brigade, Rainbow Tree and Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Muslim LGBT+ Network, East London Suffragettes, Miss Muff’s Molly House, The Battle of Cable Street, Emma Goldman, The Gay Marxist Group and the Friends of the Joiners Arms all who have contributed to creating queer utopia today.



The East End Stories at the History Café Series

The antidote to history talks! Informal evenings of miniature lectures and surprising interludes from an eclectic selection of East End London authors, historians, and performers.
Upstairs in the hidden hall of the 17th-century Market Coffee House, 50-52 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1 6AG.


The First Instalment: 30/08/2023, 6.30pm
‘Music is the Most Beautiful Language in the World’
Experience the thrill of Yiddish Jazz from the 1930s to 1950s Whitechapel with BBC broadcaster and oral historian, Alan Dein! Join us for an electrifying night of untold stories and forgotten sounds that defined an era.

‘Artists, Anarchists & Peanuts’
Join us for an exhilarating journey into the hidden history of a captivating shop in Spitalfields, masterfully researched and revealed by the brilliant Deborah Scott-Lovric.

Plus compere Alan Gilbey with ‘This Month in Local History‘, a quick quiz, and some surprises!


The Second Instalment: 27/09/2023, 6.30pm
‘Night in the Archives’
Witness a thrilling revelation as Stefan Dickers, the acclaimed curator of the Bishopsgate Institute, opens some of his dustiest storage boxes and unearths astonishing discoveries…

Plus, join us for an enchanting evening as artist/performer Kate Sullivan delves into her captivating family tree, unravelling hidden tales of the past.

Paired with the extraordinary Alan Gilbey, who will mesmerize you with classic works of London exploration and thought-provoking questions, this event promises to ignite your curiosity and leave you asking, “Who truly knows the East End?”


15/6/23, 7pm
Little Estuaries by Daniel Kramb


Join us in the bookshop for the launch of Daniel Kramb’s new book of poetry — Little Estuaries, published by the brand new UK imprint of Amsterdam’s HetMoet, HetMoet-Menard, and featuring cover art by Louisa Albani.


In Little Estuaries, Daniel Kramb goes in search of what’s fleeting between the shores. Amid a constantly shifting sense of what can be seen, sensed or experienced, the poet probes the estuary as sphere: an opening up, a possibility.

Whittled down, like sea to stream, his poems emerge, in their own distinct form, estuary-shaped on the page. Intricate, at times playful, always open, these unassuming, small pieces reach beyond the confines, always returning to what’s undeniable, as the body.

Silt-smeared and salty, this is poetry not on landscape, but through it: formed not by what exists, but from what’s washed up within.


“Gloriously spare and strange and compendious and tender, like a hymn.” — Sara Baume, author of seven steeples

“What emerges, through and around these gentle and effective poems is a different sense of the estuary, a place of quiet and shifting landscapes, from the experience of walking out, then letting go.” — Rachel Lichtenstein, author of Estuary

Daniel Kramb (danielkramb.com) is a writer and poet. He is a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen and his prose history of the collective is out in Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different (2021). Other work has appeared in The London Magazine, Prototype, Popshot and elsewhere. His fiction includes Central (2015) and From Here (2012). Look at Us is a stage collaboration with JJ Bola. Several Little Estuaries make up a poetry intervention at Thameside Nature Reserve commissioned for SEEPARK (South Essex Estuary Park) by URBAN landscape architects and arts organisation Metal Southend.
Louisa Amelia Albani (nightbirdpress.com) is an artist, educator and small press publisher. Night bird press pamphlets are stocked at London Review Bookshop,  Poetry Pharmacy (Shropshire Hills), Seven Fables (Exmoor), Charleston bookshop (Lewes), Treadwells Bookshop, Tate Britain Bookshop, Much Ado Bookshop (Alfriston, East Sussex), Kim’s Bookshops (Arundel & Chichester), Boekhandel Livius de Zevensprong, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
HetMoet-Menard Press is the London based imprint of HetMoet Publishing, an indie press based on a historic sailing barge in the centre of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and was founded by Elte Rauch (she/her) in 2018. The Menard Press was founded by Anthony Rudolf in 1969. In 2022 the two presses merged to what is now HetMoet-Menard.


24/5/23, 7pm
Queer Footprints – A Guide to Uncovering London’s Fierce History by Dan Glass

Join us in the bookshop for the launch of Queer Footprints with author and activist Dan Glass.

This groundbreaking guide will take you through the city streets to uncover the scandalous, hilarious and empowering events of London’s queer history. Accompanied by a chorus of voices both iconic and unsung, readers can walk through parts of East, West, South and North London, dipping into beautifully illustrated maps and extraordinary tales of LGBTQIA+ solidarity, protest and pride.

From the Brixton Fairies to Notting Hill Carnival to world-changing protests in Trafalgar Square, Rebel Dykes to drag queen communes, Queer Footprints celebrates the hidden histories of struggle and joy. Including an accessibility guide and a list of these gems for your pleasure: queer spaces, clubs, networks and resources galore.


‘Glass has used his vast experience as a campaigner to create something dizzyingly energetic. His writing isn’t just informative; it compels you to act’ – Darren McGarvey, Orwell Prize-winning author of Poverty Safari
‘Dan is a charming raconteur, grass-roots historian, people lover and pleasure seeker who delights in guiding us from pick-ups to pinkwashing through the queer London that he loves. He lets both the neophyte and the experienced city-dweller discover the magic anew’ – Sarah Schulman

Dan Glass is a healthcare and human rights activist, performer, presenter, writer and author of United Queerdom. Dan has been recognised as ‘Activist of the Year’ by the Sexual Freedom Awards and was announced a ‘BBC Greater Londoner’ for founding Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through Time. Dan recently founded self-defence empowerment programme Bender Defenders and Queer Night Pride to confront rising hate crime.


19/5/23, 7pm
From Sylhet to Spitalfields: Bengali Squatters in 1970s East London by Shabna Begum
Join us at the bookshop, where author Shabna Begum will be in conversation with Denise Jones and Jumanah Younis


‘Bengali squatters challenged the narrative about who belonged in the East End and, through their refusal to be dispersed and dispossessed, refused to accept whiteness as a proxy for belonging.’

Faced with institutional discrimination in council housing and the existential threat of the National Front, hundreds of Bengali families in 1970s East London decided to squat, taking over entire streets and estates. With the support of the Race Today collective, squatters formed the Bengali Housing Action Group (BHAG), which organised support and vigilante groups to keep the community safe.

Using oral history interviews and archival research, From Sylhet to Spitalfields looks at the Bengali community’s contribution to this little-known episode of East End history, and how it can inform present-day housing struggles.


A powerful contribution to working-class and multicultural histories of Britain.
– Gurminder K. Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies (Global Studies), University of Sussex

Shabna Begum is Head of Research at the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading race equality think tank.
Jumanah Younis is books editor at Lawrence Wishart and a trainee therapist.


27/4/23, 7pm
The Long Form – Kate Briggs

Join us at the shop for the launch of Kate Briggs’ debut novel

It’s early morning and there’s a whole new day ahead. How will it unfold? The baby will feed, hopefully she’ll sleep; Helen looks out of the window. The Long Form is the story of two people composing a day together.

It is a day of movements and improvisations, common and uncommon rhythms, stopping and starting again. As the morning progresses, a book – The History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding – gets delivered, and the scope of the day widens further. Matters of care-work share ground with matters of friendship, housing, translation, aesthetics and creativity.

Small incidents of the day revive some of the oldest preoccupations of the novel: the force of social circumstance, the power of names, the meaning of duration and the work of love. With lightness and precision, Kate Briggs renews Henry Fielding’s proposition for what a novel can be, combining fiction and essay to write an extraordinary domestic novel of far-reaching ideas.

Kate Briggs grew up in Somerset, UK, and lives and works in Rotterdam, NL, where she founded and co-runs the writing and publishing project ‘Short Pieces That Move’. She is the translator of two volumes of Roland Barthes’s lecture and seminar notes at the Collège de France: The Preparation of the Novel and How to Live Together, both published by Columbia University Press. The Long Form follows This Little Art, a narrative essay on the practice of translation. In 2021, Kate Briggs was awarded a Windham-Campbell Prize.

Join us from 7pm for a short reading from the novel, followed by an informal chat.


26/4/23, 7pm
We All Go into the Dark by Francisco Garcia

Join us at the bookshop where author Francisco Garcia will be discussing his new book with Eliza Clark

Both a riveting account of a series of killings in late 1960s Glasgow and a philosophical meditation about the nature of urban mythmaking and the modern obsession with historic true crime, We All Go Into the Dark focuses on the elusive figure of scripture-quoting murderer Bible John.

Three women were brutally murdered between early 1968 and late 1969, each after a night dancing at Glasgow’s infamous Barrowland Ballroom. Their murders were linked and ascribed to the spectre of the well-dressed, scripture-quoting killer who had apparently stalked the city’s dancehalls.

The figure was never caught or identified. But the intervening years spawned a legend that never quite lost its grip on the popular imagination of Glasgow. The killings provoked the country’s largest ever manhunt, as well as countless suspects, books, documentaries, earnest speculation, pub theorising and bouts of urban mythmaking.

Garcia delves into how Bible John has morphed across generations, interrogates our collective obsession with ‘solving’ historic crimes and questions why some killings are forgotten with indecent haste and why others are never permitted to be forgotten at all. A captivating, eloquent and deeply original book, We All Go into the Dark is an absolute must-read for true-crime fans across the board.

Francisco Garcia is a writer and journalist with the Guardian, Financial Times, VICE, New Statesman, Rolling Stone and many others. His first book, If You Were: Missing People and the Marks They Leave Behind, was published by HarperCollins in May 2021.
The conversation will be chaired by Eliza Clark, recently chosen by Granta in their fifth generation picks of Best Young British novelists. Her first novel Boy Parts was published by Influx Press in 2020; a second novel, Penance, is forthcoming from Faber in July 2023.


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