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Friday 22 November
at The Wanstead Tap

Decline and Fail

John Crace
Decline
and Fail

Read in Case of Political Apocalypse

Friday 29 November
at The Wanstead Tap

Award-winning
poetry with

Raymond Antrobus,
Salena Godden
& Nikita Gill

Saturday 30 November
from 10 am to 5 pm
at Newham Bookshop

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Wednesday 4 December
at The Wanstead Tap

We Fight Fascists

Daniel Sonabend

We Fight Fascists

In converstion with Michael Rosen

Regional Winner

Friday 6 September at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap


This Golden Fleece
This Golden Fleece
is published in hardback
by Granta Books at £16.99
on 5 September 2019.
Buy ticket online
Tickets £6 online
from Newham Bookshop

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Esther Rutter relates the history of wool and knitting across the British Isles

Esther Rutter
This Golden Fleece

A Journey Through Britain’s Knitted History

Over the course of a year, Esther Rutter – who grew up on a sheep farm in Suffolk, and learned to spin, weave and knit as a child – travels the length of the British Isles, to tell the story of wool’s long history here.

She unearths fascinating histories of communities whose lives were shaped by wool, from the mill workers of the Border countries, to the English market towns built on profits of the wool trade, and the Highland communities cleared for sheep farming; and finds tradition and innovation intermingling in today’s knitwear industries. Along the way, she explores wool’s rich culture by knitting and crafting culturally significant garments from our history – among them gloves, a scarf, a baby blanket, socks and a fisherman’s jumper – reminding us of the value of craft and our intimate relationship with wool.

This Golden Fleece is at once a meditation on the craft and history of knitting, and a fascinating exploration of wool’s influence on our landscape, history and culture.

“A compelling literary journey through the social history of wool in the British Isles” – Karen Lloyd, author of The Gathering Tide and The Blackbird Diaries.

“This is a book about wool and sheep, the making of Scotland, England and farming, textile manufacture, folk-lore and, crucially, the essential craft of knitting. The plying of wool had been a vital survival skill for over two millennia in Britain before the Romans showed up (bringing their own sheep with them, just in case) making this domestic skill a founding piece of ‘civilisation’. From fairy tales to debate regarding national identity, from the year dot to the tragedy of the Scottish Clearances and beyond, the history of plain, purl and intarsia is woven together by Esther Rutter, whose own skill with needles, learned from practical experience, attests that this ancient craft is nothing less than a wonder of civilization. Beautifully written, too” – Janice Galloway, author of novels, short stories and poetry including Jellyfish and The Trick is to Keep Breathing.

Esther Rutter

Esther Rutter won a scholarship and studied English at Magdalen College, Oxford. She has worked at the Wordsworth Trust and at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, and is currently Writer in Residence at the University of St Andrews. Growing up on a sheep farm in Suffolk – where as child she learned to spin, weave and knit – she retains an affection for all things woolly. She lives in Fife. You can follow her knitting adventures on Instagram at @thisgoldenfleece and Twitter at @thisgoldfleece.

Forthcoming events


Friday 22 November at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

John Crace
Decline and Fail
Read in Case of Political Apocalypse

Friday 29 November at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

Raymond Antrobus,
Salena Godden
& Nikita Gill

Wednesday 4 December at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

Daniel Sonabend
We Fight Fascists
The 43 Group and Their Forgotten
Battle for Post War Britain

In conversation with Michael Rosen

Past events and news


Suresh Singh
A Modest Living
Memoirs Of A Cockney Sikh

An Evening with
Lucinda Dickens Hawksley
Part of Redbridge Fabula Festival 2019

Eleanor Crow
Shopfronts of London
In conversation with Krissie Nicolson

Lucy O’Brien
Janette Mason and David McAlmont
Dusty in Words and Music

Carl Cattermole
Prison: A Survival Guide
In conversation with Deborah Coles

Jenni Murray
A History of the World
in 21 Women

Daniel Rachel
Don’t Look Back In Anger
In conversation with Paolo Hewitt

Esther Rutter
This Golden Fleece
A Journey Through
Britain’s Knitted History

Book Benefit for the
homeless in Newham

Launch party for
Luan Goldie
Nightingale Point

Ronnie le Drew
Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi
Zippy and Me

David Rosenberg
Rebel Footprints
in conversation with Asad Rehman

Pete Brown
Pie Fidelity
In Defence of British Food

Carol Ann Duffy
Poetry for the Insect Population
with Andrew McMillan, Matthew Hollis, Imtiaz Dharker, Zaffar Kunial,
Mark Pajak, Hannah Sullivan,
Sean Borodale, Ella Duffy
and Yvonne Reddick

David Hepworth
A Fabulous Creation
How the LP Saved Our Lives

5x15 on The Future of Education
with David Kynaston, Priya Lakhani, Alex Beard, Owen Jones,
Melissa Benn and Kate Clanchy

Cold War Steve
The Festival of Brexit
in conversation with Martin Rowson

Lucinda Gosling
Shirley Baker and Vintage Britain

Robert Elms
London Made Us
A Memoir of a Shape-Shifting City

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Michael Rosen
with Danny Braverman

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Bobby Seagull
The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers

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Suresh Singh
with Stef Dickers

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Duncan Barrett
Hitler’s British Isles

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Kate Thompson
and Melanie McGrath

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Regeneration Songs

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Asian Noir:
the new wave of crime fiction

Luke Turner
Out of the Woods

Danny Dorling
Rule Britannia
Brexit and the End of Empire

Doreen Fletcher, Paintings
with The Gentle Author

Benjamin Zephaniah
The Life and Rhymes
of Benjamin Zephaniah

in conversation with Cilius Victor

Peggy Seeger
First Time Ever

E. Foley and B. Coates
What Would Boudicca Do?

Bobby Seagull
The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers

Will Ashon
Chamber Music
Enter the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces)

Robin Ince
I’m a Joke and So Are You
A Comedian’s Take on
What Makes Us Human

Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate
The Inking Woman

Iain Sinclair
Living with Buildings

1968 and After:
Culture and Education

An evening with
Shami Chakrabarti and Rachel Holmes

Martin Rowson
The Pen is Mightier Than the Word

Ed Vulliamy
When Words Fail

Marcus Sedgwick & Dr Sam George
The Battle of the Books:
Frankenstein v. Dracula

Kenney Jones
Let the Good Times Roll

Ben Okri and special guests
Rise Like Lions

Adam Dant
Maps of London & Beyond

Sarah Ivens
Forest Therapy

Shore 2 Shore
with Carol Ann Duffy
Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Jackie Kay
and Maura Dooley, with music by John Sampson

Viv Albertine
To Throw Away Unopened

Melanie McGrath
Pie & Mash Down the Roman Road
in conversation with Duncan Barrett

James Bloodworth
Hired
Six Months Undercover
in Low-Wage Britain

Chris Difford
Full Acoustic Show
Some Fantastic place

Michael Rosen
So They Call You Pisher!

David Hepworth
Uncommon People
The Rise and Fall of the
Rock Stars 1955-1994

Liam Young and Simon Hannah
The Labour Party, past and present

Misha Glenny: McMafia
Seriously Organised Crime

Helen Pankhurst: Deeds Not Words
The Story of Women’s Rights,
Then and Now

Laura James and Jessie Hewitson discuss autism

Literary Natives
Writers of Colour Meet Up

John Davies: The Red Atlas
How the Soviet Union
Secretly Mapped the World

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