From eco-homes to small acts of kindness, October Books has a packed schedule of January events

From eco-homes to small acts of kindness, October Books has a packed schedule of January events

Southampton’s independent radical bookshop, October Books, has started the new year with a packed schedule of events.

Things get underway on Monday, January 17, with ‘conversation: chat to an eco-home owner.’

Held in the shop from 7pm, the event is part of Big Energy Saving Week. Join the conversation about what you can do in your own home to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable life.

Like many environmental activists in our city Lyn Brayshaw has many passions and interests. This evening gives you the opportunity to ask her questions about owning an eco-home, low impact travel and transport and the many big and little changes that you can make that will make a real difference to our planet. Some big things Lyn has done include: installing an Air Source Heat Pump, various bikes, PV and water solar panels, which heat water even on a bright day in mid-winter. 

Lyn’s family have never had a car so have holidayed by camping by bike with children,using hostels/other accommodation that is sometimes as cheap as camping and using train and bus. One of Lyn’s mantras is Remember how to Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Refuse, Rethink: Recycling comes last. 

A further Big Energy Saving Week event takes place on Tuesday, January 18, with “conversation: Sustainable Hairdressing and Is This Street Made For Me?”

Join the conversation with two local activists who are working on projects all about improving individual sustainability.

Denise Baden from the University of Southampton will talk about her work on more sustainable hairdressing and washing, as well as her recent publication of fiction and the use of green stories to help others imagine a more sustainable future.

Claudia Murg from We Make Southampton will be talking about her project Is this Street Made for you? A collaborative project with Southampton University’s Public Engagement Research Unit which explores the impact of the role of roads in our wellbeing and how we use them to connect or disconnect from the world around us. There’ll be lots of time for questions and conversation about both topics.

Also on January 18, the bookshop is hosting a Bring Your Own Book online get together. 

Register via Eventbrite to join the monthly social evening. All are welcome at this book club with a twist! Attendees are invited to BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) and share inspiration found between the pages. Those in attendance each get a chance to talk a little bit about a book they have been reading this month and what they’ve thought about it. There is no required reading, just a desire to talk about what you’ve been reading!

On Thursday, January 20, the bookshop will be holding another online event: an author talk: ‘Wilder Winds with Bel Olid and Laura McGoughlin’.

Join author Bel Olid and translator Laura McGloughlin via ZOOM to hear tales of freedom and power in Wilder Winds.

In Wilder Winds, writer and translator Bel Olid presents a stunning collection of short stories that draw on notions of individual freedom, abuses of power, ingrained social violence, life on the outskirts of society, and inevitable differences. Alongside these she places small acts of kindness capable of changing the world and making it a better place. Like a flower that stubbornly grows and blooms in the cracks of the pavement. Olid’s work seeks out beauty without renouncing truth, and never avoids conflict or intimacy. Wilder Winds creates scenes and fragile, yet hardy characters that will stay with the reader for years to come.

Bel Olid is a writer and translator living and working in Catalonia. They are  president of the Catalan Writers’ Association and in 2017 stood for the Catalan parliament as a representative of the CUP party.

Laura McGloughlin is an Irish translator living and  working in London. Having translated many works by both Catalan and Spanish writers, in 2012 she appeared as a panellist for New Spanish Books.

What is biodiversity? Join the Transition Talk in the shop on Wednesday, January 26 to find out.

Local ecologist and former research biologist Kevin Bryan will be in the shop for the talk.

Most people are aware of COP26. Fewer have heard of COP15; the ‘Biodiversity COP’.

What is biodiversity and how is it measured? Kevin Bryan will explore the subject, considering the relationships between biodiversity, habitat loss and conservation.

If you’d like to do a ‘practical exercise’ (using tokens as species) please arrive at 6.15pm. The ‘results’ may get used in the talk if there are enough!

Transition Southampton believes in a positive, sustainable, community imagined future. They work with local communities, organisations and local governments to create positive, sustainable, community-based solutions that tackle climate change and energy scarcity. They are part of the international Transition Network, and have a range of active and past projects across food, energy, waste, transport and the built environment.


On Thursday, January 27, you can join Arvind Sivaramakrishnan in the shop for a deep dive into the UK constitution and prime ministerial authority. Arvind is a former Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Before that he was Senior Deputy Editor on the Indian national newspaper the Hindu; he combined this with teaching and research at a postgraduate college of journalism. 

Arvind studied at the University of Southampton, and his qualifications include a PhD in political philosophy. Since then he has taught in further and higher education in the UK, in India, and in Germany. Among his books are: Indian Democracy: Contradictions and Reconciliations (SAGE 2019), Introduction to Political Ideologies (SAGE 2017), Public Interest Journalism (Orient BlackSwan 2014) and Public Policy and Citizenship (SAGE 2012).


On Saturday, January 29, Andy Oakey – The Sustainable Chef  will be in the shop for a cookery demonstration followed by a Q&A session.

Have you been thinking about your food carbon footprint?Not quite sure what you can do to reduce it?

With 45 no-nonsense, plant-based recipes, The Sustainable Chef gives a new outlook on cooking and baking. From a classic carbonara to a sticky toffee pudding; every recipe is specifically designed to be easy to follow, easy to make, and easy on the planet. Each recipe comes with a ‘Carbon Impact Check’, so you can see how much of a difference you are making.

Andy Oakey developed his interest in sustainable eating after going plant-based in 2019. The COVID-19 lockdown inspired him to experiment with recipes to make plant-based eating less difficult and intimidating. Fitting recipe development around a busy lifestyle as a full-time researcher and triathlete, Andy is working to help others to reduce their impact. He made his on-stage debut at the Bournemouth Foodies Festival in 2021.

With the current Covid landscape, all events are subject to change in format. To keep up to date with the latest news about the event you wish to attend, register your interest via Eventbrite.

Whether you’re attending in person or online, the full details will be sent once you’ve signed up, and you’ll get a reminder beforehand too.

October Books are asking people to stay away if you feel unwell, to take a lateral flow test before attending and to wear face coverings for all in-person events, to help keep each other safe and healthy.

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