I was sent this Writers’ London book to review just before the big lockdown, and had been planning to use it to plan a few literary jaunts. But now that I’m travelling no further than the garden, I’m using it to plan future escapades. Frankly, it’s only the thought of future adventures that keeps me going some days.
Writers’ London is a well-researched, generously illustrated book tracing the adventures of some of London’s most famous authors and poets.
The book takes us on a London tour with everyone from Shakespeare to Agatha Christie, from William Blake to Joe Orton. You can find out where some of history’s literary greats have lived, loved, got drunk, died and been buried. If you have a Londonish friend who likes to read then put this on their birthday list.
It’s slightly frustrating reading this book now becuase I’d like to take a walk along some of the paths it follows, but I’m keeping a list for the future. I’ve already been to the Islington building where Joe Orton was murdered by his lover, though not the Soho pub where Dylan Thomas left his manuscript, or indeed the Chelsea hotel where Oscar Wilde was arrested.
The text is well organised – there’s an index where you can look up your favourite author and trace their path around town. I also like the inclusion of notable bookshops for each area, and the cemetaries and long lost periodicals.
The chapters themselves are divided into areas, so if you happen to be in Camden or Clapham or wherever, you can check out which writers’ steps you’re walking in. One day, friends, one day. I’ll see you out there.
Writers’ London by Carrie Kania & Alan Oliver is published by ACC Art Books. RRP £15, currently reduced to £13.50 at Amazon* or £11.85 at Hive. If you have a local independent bookshop, speak to them first to see if they can sort you out. Many independent bookshops are currently doing local deliveries. Support your local bookshop.
*PR Sample. Contains affiliate link.