With the world heading deeper into dark times these writers are using their books to speak out. A double book launch and a subversive panel!

How can writing change the world? What we read can have an undeniable impact on whether we see light at the end of the tunnel, and what we imagine the other side will look like.

Helen Sedgwick and Jane Alexander star in a double book launch at Lighthouse Books - Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop - and will be joined on a panel by Rachel Plummer and Jemma Neville.

The panel will discuss the different ways in which each book, which is hugely different, addresses the current politics of today, and what impact each writer hoped to make.

Covering crime, sci-fi, poetry, and memoir - this is not a night to be missed!


Helen Sedgwick will be launching When the Dead Come Calling. She is the author of The Comet Seekers (Harvill Secker, 2016) and The Growing Season (Harvill Secker, 2017).

The Comet Seekers was published in the UK, US and Canada, and selected as a best book of 2016 by The Herald and Glamour. In 2018, The Growing Season was shortlisted for the Saltire Society’s Fiction Book of the Year. When the Dead Come Calling is the first book of her new crime series. She is represented by Cathryn Summerhayes of Curtis Brown.

As a literary editor, Helen has worked as the managing director of Cargo Publishing and managing editor of Gutter, and she founded Wildland Literary Editors in 2012. Before that, Helen was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University.

Jane Alexander will be launching A User’s Guide to Make-Believe. She is the author of The Last Treasure Hunt (Saraband), which was selected as a Waterstones Debut of the Year in 2015.

As a teacher of creative writing, Jane has worked with all kinds of learners – from secondary school pupils to local elderly people, international students to men in prison. For several years she ran creative writing workshops for people in recovery from substance misuse, and she currently teaches at the University of Edinburgh and the Open University. Originally from Aberdeen, Jane has previously worked as an illustrator, designer and arts marketer, and has lived in Edinburgh – the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature – for 20 years.

Rachel Plummer’s most recent publication is Wain: LGBT reimaginings of Scottish folktales. They are a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award winner (2016) and has won or placed in numerous other awards and competitions, including the Troubadour Prize, the Flambard Prize, the Penfro, and Canterbury Festival’s Poet of the Year Award.

Their poetry has appeared in magazines including The Dark Horse, Mslexia, Agenda, Interpreter’s House, Gutter and New Walk, and anthologies including New Writing Scotland (2017, published by ASLS), the Emma Press Anthology of Love poetry, and 154 from Live Canon, an anthology of contemporary responses to Shakespeare’s sonnets. They published a pamphlet of sci-fi poetry with House Press in December 2017, and received a cultural commission from LGBT Youth Scotland earlier that year. They run creative writing workshops for children and teens. They have two children, three guinea pigs, and entirely too many books.

Jemma Neville recently published Constitution Street. She has a professional background in human rights law. She is Director of arts charity Voluntary Arts Scotland and was the inaugural Community Fellow at IASH, University of Edinburgh. Jemma has written for a range of media and was shortlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award.


Remember you can buy your tickets in the shop & save yourself the eventbrite booking fee.

The bookshop is wheelchair accessible, events are seated and speakers use microphones throughout their events. We have further details about accessibility HERE, or feel free to get in touch, we’re happy to help however we can!

The Bookshop operates a Safe Space Policy which all guests and speakers are asked to respect - you can read it here.

As ever we have 15 free tickets available for this event! These are intended to make the evening accessible to those who are unwaged/ on benefits/ might not otherwise be able to attend - If you can afford a £3 ticket please book one as this supports the bookshop and allows us to save free places for those who can’t, thanks!

Book places here.