Shelina Permalloo, KKB, plastic free Christmas crafts and more at October Books this November

Shelina Permalloo, KKB, plastic free Christmas crafts and more at October Books this November

This month October Books in Portswood, Southampton, has a huge range of events on offer to tempt you into the shop – alongside it’s regular offerings of ethical produce and books of course.

Southampton’s very own MasterChef star Shelina Permalloo is giving an author talk on Wednesday, 9th November at 6:30pm in the shop. 

The event promises to be an intimate talk with Shelina Permalloo as she unearths her life in food,  and shares how MasterChef propelled her into professional kitchens, tv and radio and led her to setting up a restaurant of her own here in Southampton.

Shelina will be reading from her books, doing a short cooking demonstration, answering your questions and sharing delicious vegan tasters.


October Books has an exhibition space and on Friday 11th November at 4pm there will be an  exhibition launch from Solent University Artists Collective.

Join four artists from Solent University and share the inspiration and creative journeys behind their works. Carolina Rebelo takes her inspiration from the natural world to draw and create fantasy worlds where her imagination runs free. Music is what inspires Kelly Frake’s work with a specific album and its artwork, Melaphobia, an album by cage the elephant and artwork by R Clint Colburn, providing the impetus for her current works. Andreea Gavrilas uses oils to create bold, colourful artwork with some useful insights into nature and life and with a rodents taking centre stage. Trudy Ryan sees a beauty in inanimate objects that people have discarded and thrown out and draws inspiration from her personal view of urban decay and deterioration.


 There will be an author talk on The Prentice-Boy by Ray Rumsby on Saturday 12th November at 11am in the shop.

Join Ray  to hear about his historical novel for our times.  In 1820, aquatint artist William Daniell of London hires Jesse Cloud, a homeless teenager, as his apprentice. But all is not as it seems. An eventful East Anglian tour impels both on their own inner journeys, exposing others’ betrayals and exploring their own possibilities. Faced with bankruptcy, starvation looms. The artist must learn how to see and his prentice must learn how to survive – while the truth shatters all.

Set a year after Peterloo, this historical novel focuses particularly upon poverty and exploitation, and the limitations upon women in the early days of organised struggle for rights

Following a career as an English specialist in state education, former Southampton resident, Ray Rumsby is a published author, dramatist and bookshop campaigner. In The Prentice-Boy, the central characters themselves describe how this unusual partnership progresses, how both have their secrets, coming to show the frailty, doubts, and resilience of lives on the edge. Ray tells us that the strong social and feminist concerns in the story led him ‘to find unsettling parallels between society two centuries ago, and our situation now’.


Also on November 12, at 2pm there will be another author talk, this tome on Sailors’ Vegan Cookbook. Join Jacquie Dowding – Skipper and RYA Principal at – to learn about their community sailing school and their vegan cookbook. The Sailboat Project is a workers co-operative established in 2009 providing a range of learning activities based around sailing and widening access to the sea, for all.

Operating out of Chichester Harbour and all over the south coast, they provide vegan and vegetarian meals onboard by default as part of their commitment to lowering their CIC’s carbon footprint. In this talk they’ll be talking what they do and why the Sailors’ Vegan Cookbook was written, and their plans to promote vegan cooking on boats, in caravans and whilst camping.


There is an online event on Tuesday 15th November at 7pm: the November Get-Together: Bring Your Own Book. All are welcome to join the monthly social evening, a book club with a twist! Attendees are asked to BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) to share inspiration they have 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 Monday 21st November at 6:30pm in the shop there will be an  author talk on Where The Wildflowers Grow by Leif Bersweden. Join Leif  in the shop to hear about his botanical journey through Britain and Ireland.

In 2021, Leif  went on a big botanical adventure around Britain and Ireland with his bike, travelling from Hampshire’s Bluebell woods to the shores of Shetland, to track down our most intriguing and well-known plants, with the people who love them most dearly.

Leif’s latest book, Where the Wildflowers Grow, follows him on that journey as he botanises his way through an entire calendar year, meeting our plants, telling their stories and exploring people’s connection to their local flora. Plants are capable of extraordinary things that we rarely hear about or give them credit for, and Leif is here to share their ways with new audiences. 

This talk, like the book, is all about the joy of engaging with nature, the importance of plants for our climate, and celebrating our unbelievable botanical diversity.


On Wednesday 23rd November at 6:50pm there will be a Transition Talk on soil in the shop.

Kabir Kareem-Bello

On Saturday 26th November at 10:30am in the shop there will be an author talk onThe Ongoing Quest For Identity with KKB.

This is a rescheduled date to join Kabir Kareem-Bello and friends to explore an ongoing quest for identity.

Traversing immigration, migration, identity and race, KKB will discuss his struggles with a sense of belonging and the journeys that have shaped his outlook on life. He will read exclusive passages from his forthcoming memoir ‘97 Days Of Joy’ and his critically acclaimed novel ‘The Street Hawker’s Apprentice’, and invites you to ask questions and join the conversation.

Kabir Kareem-Bello was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and moved to the UK with his family in 1992. His self-published book Memoirs of Young African is based on his experiences as a young African migrant in the UK. He has spoken about identity and migration at a number of public events, most notably at the University of Edinburgh and Portsmouth University. The Street Hawker’s Apprentice is his first fiction novel. His second memoir which focuses on his journey and experiences of fatherhood is due for publication 2023/24. He is planning a podcast focused on immigration and identity and a documentary looking at the journey of Africans in the diaspora.

Less than a month to go before Christmas, on  Saturday 26th November from 1om in the shop join Transition crafting: Plastic Free Xmas Decorations.

Join Christiane Charlton, Uli Munford and Transition Southampton at the event which will be suitable for all ages. Under 18s need to be accompanied by an adult. Make your own Christmas baubles from old Christmas cards, stars from natural straw and paper stars.

All materials supplied, but feel free to take your own paper, old Christmas cards and any decorations.

Register via Eventbrite for instructions to join your event – this helps October Books manage books and numbers for in-person events and maintain a safe, secure environment at online events.

All events are free entry, some have a suggested donation of £3 to assist us with running costs.

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