Past Events

Monday 1st April 2024

UBC discuss January Fifteenth

Book group discussion on January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky, open to all.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 18th March 2024

UBC watch The Village

This month’s film choice is The Village (2004). Spooky horror/thriller from M. Night Shyamalan about a rural community living a seemingly idyllic life, apart from the ghouls in the surrounding woods.

Apologies but this event is only open to existing Utopian Book Collective members, plus Spike Island studio holders and associates. Please contact Sheryl to book.

7pm, Spike Island Associate Space

Monday 4th March 2024

Book group discussion on Communitas: Means of Livelihood and Ways of Life by Percival & Paul Goodman, open to all.

This book is available for free online.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 19th February 2024

Film night watching The Kitchen. Apologies but this event is only open to existing Utopian Book Collective members, plus Spike Island studio holders and associates. Please contact Sheryl to book.

7pm, Spike Island Associate Space

Saturday 17th February 2024 – UBC recommended event

Improvised Climate Futures

A workshop exploring imagined climate futures through discussion, improv and exercises, inspired by a talk from a climate scientist.

This event is not being run by UBC but by sci-fi writer and climate activist Emma Geen, along with Dr Joanna House of the IPCC and Dr Kierann Shah, Artistic Director of the Bristol Improv Theatre and science communicator. It’s being held at Sparks Bristol (the artist takeover of the old Marks & Spencer’s shop) in Broadmead, Bristol from 1-3.20pm.

Highly recommended event and it’s free to attend. Sign up and find more info at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/improvised-climate-futures-tickets-785139402087?aff=oddtdtcreator

Monday 5th February 2024

Book group discussion on Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon, open to all.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 22nd January 2024

Film night watching Woman in Motion. Apologies but this event is only open to existing Utopian Book Collective members, plus Spike Island studio holders and associates. Please contact Sheryl to book.

7pm, Spike Island Asso

Monday 8th January 2024

Artwork from A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Book group discussion on A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, open to all.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 4th December 2023

UK cover art for Kristen Ghodsee's Everyday Utopia

Book group discussion on Everyday Utopia by Kristen Ghodsee, open to all.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Saturday 25th November 2023

UBC at David Goldblatt's Utopian Chemistry installation

Family-friendly group visit to the Utopian Chemistry art installation in The Galleries, Bristol, followed by lunch in the food court. Meet there at 11am. See the Bristol Post for more information about the installation. All welcome.

Monday 20th November 2023

Film night watching Aniara. Apologies but this event is only open to existing members. Please contact Sheryl to book.

7pm, Spike Island Associate Space

Monday 6th November 2023

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress cover art on a multi-colour background

Book group discussion on The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, open to all.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 16th October 2023

Logan's Run film poster

Film night watching Logan’s Run. Apologies but this event is only open to existing members. Please contact Sheryl to book.

7pm, Spike Island Associate Space

Monday 2nd October 2023

Book group discussion on Triton by Samuel R. Delany, open to all.

Monday 18th September 2023

Film night watching Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Apologies but this event is only open to existing members. Please contact Sheryl to book.

7pm, Spike Island Associate Space

Monday 4th September 2023

Book group discussion on The Seep by Chana Porter, open to all.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 7th August 2023

Book group discussion on Thoreau’s Walden.

Monday 17th July 2023

Film night. Apologies but this event is only open to existing members. Please contact Sheryl to book.

Monday 3rd July 2023

Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune 2052-2072 by M. E. O’Brien and Eman Abdelhadi

Book group discussion, open to all

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 19th June 2023

Monday 5th June 2023

Book group discussion on Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar

Monday 1 May 2023

Book group discussion on The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk.

7pm, Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

Wednesday 3 May 2023

UBC night out – Space Crone book talk

6pm, Bookhaus, Bristol

Ursula Le Guin is a favourite author of UBC. We will be attending this book talk at Bookhaus, join us there. From the Bookhaus event listing:

Space Crone brings together Le Guin’s writings on feminism and gender for the first time, offering new insights into her imaginative, multispecies feminist consciousness: from its roots in deep ecology and philosophies of non-violence to her self-education about racism and her writing on motherhood and ageing.

Sarah Shin, co-founder of Silver Press and editor of this book will be in conversation with Samantha Walton, author of Everybody Needs Beauty.

Monday 3 April 2023

Book group discussion – Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

7pm

Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

Player Piano cover art

Thursday 9 March 2023

UBC night out!

A social outing to an event of interest happening in Bristol.

7pm

Strange Brew, Bristol

Monday 6 March 2023

Book group discussion – Walden Two by B. F. Skinner

7pm

Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

Walden Two cover art detail
How to Do Nothing book cover

Monday 6th February 2023

7pm

Book group discussion

Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol, UK

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Monday 9th January

7pm. Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol.

Book group discussion

The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

Novella by Ursula K. Le Guin, written during the Vietnam War. A group of Terran colonisers have arrived on the forest planet Athshe, where the native Athsheans live peacefully and sustainably amongst the trees. All is disrupted by the Terrans, who are enslaving the natives and plan to clear cut the planet for timber.

For further information on the book, check out friend of UBC Kate Stable’s appearances on Radio 4 discussing The Word for World is Forest on A Good Read and Ursula Le Guin on Great Lives.

For even more background, there is also a presentation on the book by UBC convener Sheryl (me, writing this post) available to view online.

Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

Book group discussion

Monday 5 December, 7pm

Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

Monday 7 November, 7pm

Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

Monday 3 October, 7pm

Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

Monday 5 September, 7pm

Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

7pm Monday 4th July 2022
Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Cover art for They by Kay Dicks

7pm Monday 6 June 2022

Watershed, Bristol

They by Kay Dick

Posters for past events: The Deep by Rivers Solomon
Posters for past events: Oscar's Tower of Flowers by Lauren Tobia

Historic special events

Ursula K. Le Guin Appreciation Day

Back in 2016 the Bristol Utopian Book Collective collaborated with Kate Stables (of This Is The Kit), Jesse D. Vernon (of Fantasy Orchestra) and others on an Ursula K. Le Guin Appreciation Day. Le Guin is our most read author in the group and we had a great time. The event is documented in this report by Jesse, including recordings of our Kesh singing. Talk continues of doing another one some day…

Unputdownable (Bristol Festival of Literature) event

Waay back in 2011 we hosted an event as part of Unputdownable, now generally known as Bristol Festival of Literature. It was an informal affair where we chatted to people about the group and the books we had read so far. Looking at the table I can see More’s Utopia, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Fatherland by Robert Harris, and Aldous Huxley’s Island amongst others. Apols for the quality of the photos, cameraphones were sh*t in those days (and probably still called cameraphones, not smartphones, back then).