City of Stories

City of Stories celebrates London's writers, readers and libraries.

City of Stories is a London Libraries project run in partnership with Spread the Word.

Spread the Word is working with London Libraries to make plans to make City of Stories happen again after its initial funding period came to an end.

Originally, the project took place over two years (2017 and 2018), it positioned libraries as the place to discover and create stories by:

*  Celebrating and promoting short stories to readers across London libraries;
*  Engaging London’s diverse communities with telling their own stories;
*  Supporting the development of London’s emerging short story writers.

It offered Londoners the chance to:

*  Take part in free creative writing workshops across London;
*  Enter the City of Stories 500 word story competition (if they have attended a City of Stories workshop);
*  Attend reading events in libraries;
*  Read new work by City of Stories writers-in-residence and competition winners.

In 2017, 430 writers took part in the City of Stories. The short story writing competition received 227 submissions, resulting in 20 competition winners, two of whom went on to be selected for Spread the Word’s PLATFORM scheme for emerging talented writers.

In 2018, over 800 people participated in City of Stories. We received 313 entries into the competition, resulting in 21 competition winners and 40 highly commended writers. The winning entries over the two years were published in City of Stories anthologies, available to read in participating libraries across London.


I hope that through my residency in Merton I can inspire people to write about the things and places they know, in a new way, and for them to realise that everywhere is full of wonder and is worthy of literary exploration. It’s also important to highlight that libraries are a vital community asset. They make literature available to all for free and were crucial in my development as a reader and writer. We lose them at our peril.

Gary Budden City of Stories writer-in-residence 2018