As part of a two-year literary initiative lead by Spread the Word, a leading writers development agency, acclaimed authors will be working in partnership with 20 London libraries to inspire Londoners to reveal their stories.
Leading writers Irenosen Okojie (Butterfly Fish, Betty Trask Award 2016), Courttia Newland (The Gospel According to Cane), Bidisha (Asylum and Exile: The Hidden Voices of London) and Alex Wheatle MBE (Crongton Knights, Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2016) will take up residencies in libraries across London.
Poet and former writer in residence at the National University of Singapore and the first poet to be awarded a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship, Jasmine Ann Cooray has been unveiled as the Kensington Central Library writer-in-residence.
In addition to producing original short stories themselves, the writers in residence will hear Londoners tales and encourage them to take part in short story writing workshops in attempt to seek out emerging talent.
The project will run from 2017-2018 and will annually hold 40 short story writing workshops that will start this June, for adult learners and those with English as a second language across 20 London boroughs.
The four writers-in-residence will be located in four London libraries, they will identify and develop new talent for the City of Stories short story competition from the participants who have attended the workshops. The judging panel will be comprised of the writers-in-residence.
Competition entrants will also get the opportunity to attend a writer development day and a chance for their short stories to be made into a film about their borough.
“The City of Stories project gives London’s libraries an opportunity to enhance their engagement with aspiring writers and authors. Libraries historically have been an important part of a writer’s development and this project gives them even greater access and tools to improve their craft,” said President of the Association of London Chief Librarians, Anthony Hopkins.
“Libraries are the lifeblood of literature. Without them, many of our well-loved authors might have struggled to become writers at all, or at least found things a great deal tougher. With Spread the Word we can continue to find the meaningful, necessary stories that beg to be told. This will be a very exciting residency for all involved,” said Novelist and playwright, Courttia Newland.
The free short story writing workshops at Kensington and Chelsea Library are taking place at Monday 12 June 2017, 6.30 – 7.45pm and Tuesday 27 June 2017, 6.30 – 7.45pm with Jasmine Ann Cooray.
The book a space on the free workshop at Kensington Central Library: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/city-of-stories-kensington-central-library-kensington-chelsea-tickets-34139192243
For more information about the 20 participating libraries: