City of Stories Home workshops now open for booking

Archive

City of Stories Home celebrates London’s libraries as places to make and share stories. A collaboration between Spread the Word and London Libraries, City of Stories Home offers 33 free online workshops for Londoners throughout February 2022 in partnership with all library services in London. All levels of writing experience are welcome. 

Any Londoner who attends a workshop will be eligible to enter the City of Stories Home writing competition which will be judged by City of Stories Home lead writers: Amer Anwar, Natasha Brown, Jarred McGinnis and Caleb Azumah Nelson.

The winning stories will be published in the City of Stories Home anthology and the winners will be offered a place at StoryLab masterclass and have the opportunity to read their story at City of Stories celebration events in June. These workshops are for adults aged 18+. The workshops are free to attend.

City of Stories Workshops – Book Now

Before booking a space, please read our FAQs which hopefully will answer any questions you have.
Please book your place using the links below which take you through to Eventbrite. We know that Eventbrite is not accessible to people with visual impairments – if you would rather book by email please email hello@spreadtheword.org.uk stating the workshop date and time.

Brent

Tuesday 1 February 6 – 8pm

Workshop leader: Lorraine Brown 

Book now: cityofstorieshomebrentlorrainebrown.eventbrite.co.uk

Barnet 

Wednesday 2 February, 6.30 – 8.30pm

Workshop leader: Tice Cin

Book now: cityofstorieshomebarnetticecin.eventbrite.co.uk

Southwark

Thursday 3 February 10am – 12pm

Workshop leader: Lizzie Damilola Blackburn 

Book now: cityofstorieshomesouthwarklizziedamilolablackburn.eventbrite.co.uk

Bexley

Thursday 3 February 2 – 4pm

Workshop leader: Carinya Sharples 

Book now: cityofstoriesbexleycarinyasharples.eventbrite.co.uk

Havering 

Thursday 3 February, 6.30 – 8.30pm

*BSL Interpreted*

Workshop leader: Amita Murray

Book now: cityofstorieshaveringamitamurray.eventbrite.co.uk

Croydon

Saturday 5 February 10am – 12pm 

Workshop leader: Jemilea Wisdom-Baako

Book now: cityofstorieshomecroydonjemileawisdom-baako.eventbrite.co.uk

Lewisham

Saturday 5 February 2 – 4pm

Workshop leader: Charlotte Heather

Book now: cityofstorieshomecharlotteheather.eventbrite.co.uk

Wandsworth

Monday 7 February 10am – 12pm

Workshop leader: Annie Hayter

Book now: cityofstorieshomewandsworthanniehayter.eventbrite.co.uk

Kensington and Chelsea

Tuesday 8 February 6.30 – 8.30pm

*BSL Interpreted*

Workshop leader: Jemilea Wisdom-Baako

Book now: cityofstorieshomekensingtonjemileawisdombaako.eventbrite.co.uk

Hounslow 

Tuesday 8 February 10am – 12pm

Workshop leader: Arun Das 

Book now: cityofstorieshounslowarundas.eventbrite.co.uk

Ealing

Wednesday 9 February 2 – 4pm

*auto-captioned*

Workshop leader: Shagufta K. Iqbal 

Book now: cityofstorieshomeealingshaguftaiqbal.eventbrite.co.uk

Tower Hamlets

Thursday 10 February 2-4pm 

Workshop leader: Arun Das

Book now: cityofstoriestowerhamletsarundas.eventbrite.co.uk

Hackney

Thursday 10 February 6.30 – 8.30pm 

Workshop leader: Lorraine Brown 

Book now: cityofstorieshackneylorrainebrown.eventbrite.co.uk

Merton

Saturday 12 February 10am – 12pm 

Workshop leader: Jemilea Wisdom-Baako

Book now: cityofstoriesmertonjemileawisdombaako.eventbrite.co.uk

Barking and Dagenham

Monday 14 February 6 – 8pm 

Workshop leader: Amita Murray 

Book now: cityofstoriesbarkindagenhamamitamurray.eventbrite.co.uk

Redbridge

Tuesday 15 February 4.30 – 6.30pm 

Workshop leader: Iqbal Hussain 

Book now: cityofstoriesredbridgeiqbalhussain.eventbrite.co.uk

Islington

Wednesday 16 February 10am – 12pm

Workshop leader: Shagufta K Iqbal 

Book now: cityofstoriesislingtonshaguftakiqbal.eventbrite.co.uk

Greenwich

Thursday 17 February 10am – 12pm

*BSL Interpreted* *auto-captioned*

Workshop leader: Carinya Sharples

Book now: cityofstoriesgreenwichcarinyasharples.eventbrite.co.uk

Enfield 

Saturday 19 February 2 – 4pm

*auto-captioned*

Workshop leader: Carinya Sharples 

Book now: cityofstoriesenfieldcarinyasharples.eventbrite.co.uk

Kingston

Saturday 19 February 10am – 12pm 

Workshop leader: Maame Blue 

Book now: cityofstorieshomekingstonmaameblue.eventbrite.co.uk

Sutton 

Monday 21 February, 10am – 12pm

*BSL Interpreted* *auto-captioned*

Workshop leader: Charlotte Heather 

Book now: cityofstoriessuttoncharlotteheather.eventbrite.co.uk

Westminster

Tuesday 22 February 6.30 – 8.30pm

Workshop leader: Helen Bowell 

Book now: cityofstorieshomewestminsterhelenbowell.eventbrite.co.uk

Camden

Tuesday 22 February 2- 4pm 

Workshop leader: S. Niroshini 

Book now: cityofstoriescamdensniroshini.eventbrite.co.uk

Lambeth 

Wednesday 23 February 6.30 – 8.30pm

*BSL Interpreted* *auto-captioned*

Workshop leader: Helen Bowell 

Book now: cityofstorieshomelambethhelenbowell.eventbrite.co.uk

Richmond

Wednesday 23 February 2 – 4pm

Workshop leader: Chris Simpson 

Book now: cityofstoriesrichmondchrissimpson.eventbrite.co.uk

City of London

Thursday 24 February, 10am – 12pm

Workshop leader: Tice Cin 

Book now: cityofstoriescityoflondonticecin.eventbrite.co.uk

Hammersmith and Fulham

Thursday 24 February 2 – 4pm

Workshop leader: Chris Simpson 

Book now: cityofstorieshammersmithfulhamchrissimpson.eventbrite.co.uk

Newham

Thursday 24 February 6.30 – 8.30pm

Workshop leader: Amita Murray

Book now: cityofstoriesnewhamamitamurray.eventbrite.co.uk

Harrow

Friday 25 February 10am – 12pm

Workshop leader: Maame Blue 

Book now: cityofstoriesharrowmaameblue.eventbrite.co.uk

Waltham Forest

Saturday 26 February 2 – 4pm

Workshop leader: Ruth Goldsmith 

Book now: cityofstorieswalthamforestruthgoldsmith.eventbrite.co.uk

Haringey

Saturday 26 February 2 – 4pm

Workshop leader: Lorraine Brown 

Book now: cityofstoriesharingeylorrainebrown.eventbrite.co.uk

Bromley 

Monday 28 February 2 – 4pm

Workshop leader: Annie Hayter

Book now: cityofstoriesbromleyanniehayter.eventbrite.co.uk

Hillingdon

Monday 28 February 6.30 – 8.30pm

Workshop leader: Shagufta K. Iqbal 

Book now: cityofstorieshillingdonshaguftaiqbal.eventbrite.co.uk

About the City of Stories workshop leaders

a picture of a woman looking at the camera looking thoughtfulAmita Murray
I’m a writer, based in London. The first of my Arya Winters series of quirky mystery novels – Arya Winters and the Tiramisu of Death – came out with Polis Books in October 2021 and is under a TV option shopping agreement with Renegade Pictures, a Warner Brothers company based in London. A starred review by Publishers Weekly says that the novel is ‘full of original metaphors and pithily funny descriptions’, and it ‘turns the cosy genre on its head.’ My previous novel The Trouble with Rose came out with HarperCollins in 2019. My collection Marmite and Mango Chutney won the SI Leeds Literary Prize in 2016 and it was part-written under a Leverhulme grant based at University College London. I’ve been a Literature Works writer-in-residence at Plymouth University, and taught creative writing at the University of East Anglia and the New College of the Humanities. My stories have been published in Wasafiri, Sand Berlin, Brand, Aesthetica and others.

The image shows a white person, Annie Hayter, smiling. They have bobbed blondish hair, black winged eyeliner and red lipstick. They are wearing a navy-blue suit jacket with a white shirt and paisley patterned tie, and are standing up against a crunchy-looking cement wall, face on to the camera.

Annie Hayter was shortlisted for Young People’s Laureate for London and is an alumnus of Barbican Young Poets and London Writers Awards. They are invested in writing about queerness and myth-making, and have been shortlisted in the London Short Story Prize, commended for the Bristol Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Alpine Fellowship and Mslexia Flash Fiction. They came third in the Cúirt New Writing Prize for Poetry, with a squelching series entitled ‘The Great Lives of Pope Joan’, a faux-hagiography about this legendary figure in genderflux.  They won BBC Proms Young Poet 2011 and were runner-up for Times Young Poet 2012. They’ve performed at the Southbank Centre, Barbican, Queer Fringe, Verve Poetry Festival, and Radio 3. Published in MAGMA, Tentacular, Bedtime Stories for the End of the World and TimeOut.  They have run workshops with Crisis, Headway East London, the Anna Freud Centre, National Youth Orchestra, The Albany, The Floating Classroom, and Writerz & Scribez. 

a picture of a man standing inbetween a row of buildings looking thoughtfully at the cameraArun Das is a former Television Producer and Journalist. After a rare illness forced him to hit the pause button, he turned to writing fiction. His story ‘Words for Sounds’ was published after being shortlisted for The Guardian 4th Estate BAME short story prize. An early draft of his first novel won him a London Writers Award from Spread The Word. He is currently working on his second novel. Arun is represented by Oli Munson from A.M Heath. 

A smiling woman in a green top pictured against a white background.

Carinya Sharples is a writer, facilitator and occasional library assistant from Lewisham. Her creative writing has been published by The London Reader, The Guyana Annual, Commonwealth Writers’ adda and was selected by Kendal Mountain Literature Festival as part of its Open Mountain showcase in 2021. She was also shortlisted for Rebel Women Lit’s Caribbean Reader’s Awards 2020 (Non-Fiction Individual Pieces) and Flipside Festival’s GAWP! Green Alphabet Writing Prize 2017, and longlisted for Mslexia’s Short Story Competition 2021. In 2020, she completed an MA in Creative Writing & Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, and co-edited the book ‘Inspire: Exciting Ways of Teaching Creative Writing’. She previously worked as a freelance journalist for BBC World Service, The Pavement, Gal-Dem and many others. 

Charlotte, a white person with short hair wearing a beanie, round glasses, black trousers and a blue shirt, sits in the corner of a room with the bright white light of a projector on one wall. Charlotte rests their elbows on their knees and has their fingers laced with palms out, as if stretching. They are looking down with their mouth open as if they are speaking.Charlotte Heather is a writer and workshop facilitator. 

 

 

Writer Chris Simpson reading at a live event - he is standing in front of a microphone stand and reading from a book

Chris Simpson grew up in Bracknell and Slough. He has worked as a waiter, a cinema projectionist, a shoe salesman, an attendant in an amusement arcade, hiring out construction and demolition tools, a pasty seller, a caretaker for a primary school, a teaching assistant, a tutor and a facilities manager. He was a collaborator on a sketch show and has performed as a stand-up comedian. In 2021 he was published alongside Kit de Waal, Kerry Hudson, Philip Ridley and twenty five other writers in MAINSTREAM from Inkandescent Publishers. In 2020 he had a special mention for the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize. In 2019 he was nominated for the inaugural Agora and PFD Lost The Plot Prize. In 2018 he was an awardee of the inaugural Spread The Word’s London Writers Award. He received a First in Creative Writing at BA level from Birkbeck University. In 2016 he was nominated for the Royal Academy and Pin Drop Short Story Award 2016. He lives in London and is at work on a novel. 

Helen Bowell, a Chinese and British young woman, wearing a purple jumper smiles in front of a bookcase.

Helen Bowell is a London-based poet and co-director of Dead [Women] Poets Society. She is a Ledbury Poetry Critic, and an alumna of The Writing Squad, the London Library Emerging Writers Programme, London Writers Awards and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Helen won the 2020 Bronze Creative Future Writers Award, and was commended in the 2021 Verve Poetry Competition, 2021 Winchester Poetry Prize, and the 2020 Mslexia Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in Magma, bath magg, Poetry Birmingham, Ambit and elsewhere. Her debut pamphlet The Barman is forthcoming from Bad Betty Press in 2022. She works at The Poetry Society.

a man holding a camera and smiling

Iqbal Hussain’s short story “The Boy with the Green Eyes” was published in the Leicester Writes Short Story anthology in September 2021. He is one of fifteen emerging writers to feature in the Mainstream anthology by Inkandescent, published July 2021. His short story “A Home from Home” won Gold prize in the Creative Future Writers’ Awards 2019. He is a recipient of the inaugural London Writers’ Awards 2018 and was shortlisted for the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme 2017. Iqbal’s first novel, Northern Boy, is currently out on submission.  You can read his City of Stories Home commissioned story ‘All Her Tomorrows’ here.

The image is a close up of a Black woman with shoulder length black hair wearing brown and gold glasses. She is wearing a sleeveless grey top, looking directly at the camera and smiling. Behind her is a blurred image of flowers and foliage.

Jemilea Wisdom-Baako is a British-Jamaican poet. A London Writers Award recipient she was shortlisted for the Rebecca Swift Women’s Poetry Prize and The Bridport Poetry Prize. A graduate of the Advanced Faber Poetry Course her work appears in Magma, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Good Journal, and elsewhere. She runs the arts company Writerz and Scribez CIC and is currently working on her first pamphlet. Writerz and Scribez is an innovative non-profit creative arts company built on the foundation that art changes lives. Based in London, we are committed to providing high-quality unique creative experiences that push art into places where it’s not usually found. We make arts accessible to all, and provide workshops that centre wellbeing for all. 

Headshot of author Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is a British-Nigerian writer, born in Peckham, who wants to tell the stories that she and her friends have longed for but never seen – romcoms ‘where Cinderella is Black and no-one bats an eyelid’. In 2019 she won the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Writing Competition with the early draft of ‘Yinka, Where is your Huzband?’, which she had been writing alongside juggling her job at Carers UK. She has been at the receiving end of the question in the title of her novel many times, and now lives with her husband in Milton Keynes.

a closeup of a woman's face looking and smiling slightly at the camera

North London-based Lorraine Brown’s varied background spans fashion journalism and acting, giving her a unique take on storytelling. She also worked as a school receptionist whilst writing and taking a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She currently delivers counselling sessions alongside writing novels. The manuscript of what became Lorraine’s debut novel THE PARIS CONNECTION, which includes themes of financial hardship and challenging family dynamics, was longlisted for the Bath Novel award in 2016, after which she was chosen to be part of Penguin Random House’s WriteNow scheme, which aims to launch the careers of writers from backgrounds currently under-represented in the publishing industry. The novel was published in paperback by Orion Fiction in January 2022, as well as by Penguin Random House in the US last summer, and has also sold to twelve foreign territories worldwide including Germany, Italy and Portugal. Lorraine’s second novel, SORRY I MISSED YOU, will be out in June 2022.

Maame Blue smiling and looking over her left shoulder with a book case behind her

Maame Blue is a Ghanaian-Londoner and author of the novel Bad Love, which won the 2021 Betty Trask award, and was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize. Her short story ‘Howl’ was featured in the KYD New Australian Fiction 2020 anthology, and her story ‘Prodigal’ appears in the Speaking Volumes anthology Not Quite Right For Us. In 2020 she joined a scriptwriting team to remix a Venezuelan telenovela for African audiences, and her writing has since appeared in various places including Writers Mosaic, The Independent, Black Ballad, and as part of the British Council UK/ Australia Season 2021 – 2022. She also has works and writing workshops forthcoming in 2022.

Image of Poet, in foreground holding a megaphone in her right hand, with a wooden background.

Founder of Kiota Bristol and the Yoniverse, Shagufta K Iqbal is an award-winning writer, workshop facilitator and Tedx Speaker. She has been described by gal-dem as a poet whose work ‘leaves you validated but aching – her narratives are important, heart-wrenching and relatable.’ Her poetry collection ‘Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam’, has been recommended by Nikesh Shukla as ‘a social political masterclass.’ Her poetry film ‘Borders’ has won several awards, and has been screened across international film festivals. She is also published in ‘Slam: You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This’, with Macmillan books. She is currently writing her second poetry collection and debut novel.

Head and shoulders photo of Ruth Goldsmith, wearing green jumper, against backdrop of Walthamstow's William Morris wallpaper.

Born to a librarian and a museum curator, stories were always going to be important to Ruth Goldsmith. In 2019, she received a London Writers Award for Literary Fiction with Spread the Word to develop her novel. Her short fiction has popped up in various places – as a lead on Visual Verse, in the first City of Stories collection and most recently placed first in the streetcake magazine Experimental Writing Prize 2021. As a commissioned writer on the Science Museum’s #ScienceFictions project, she’s having fun mixing history, science, art and words, with an anthology forthcoming in 2022. Ruth’s a card-carrying member of Waltham Forest Library Service. 

A woman with long brown hair and wearing a pink top, looking away from the camera.

S. Niroshini received a London Writer’s Award in the literary fiction category in 2019 and won Third Prize in the Poetry London Prize 2020. Her pamphlet ‘Darling Girl’ was released in 2021.

Tice smiles, against a white wall, with shadows of bougainvillaea behind her. She is brunette, olive skinned.Tice Cin is an interdisciplinary artist from north London. A London Writers Award-winner, her work has been published by Extra Teeth and Skin Deep and commissioned by places like Battersea Arts Centre and St Paul’s Cathedral. An alumnus of Barbican Young Poets, she now creates digital art as part of Design Yourself – a collective based at the Barbican Centre – exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything. A producer and DJ, she is releasing an EP, Keeping the House, to accompany her debut novel of the same name.

Published 12 January 2022