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City of Stories

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

City of Stories is an Association of London’s Chief Librarian’s project run in partnership with Spread the Word.

Taking place over two years (2017 and 2018), it aims to position 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 offers 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.

This summer, 42 writing workshops took place in 21 boroughs across London: Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Camden, City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster.

313 writers entered the City of Stories competition 2018. From this, our judges – the City of Stories 2018 writers-in-residence, Gary Budden, Meena Kandasamy, Leone Ross and Olumide Popoola selected 21 winners and 41 highly commended writers. Their stories, along with new work from our writers in residence, inspired by their residency will be published in a brand new City of Stories anthology.

The anthology will be launched at a series of City of Stories open mic events this November. Come along – hear the winning stories, share your own, network with other writers in your local Library and pick up your free anthology.

Book your free space here: cityofstories.eventbrite.com

City of Stories Writers 2018

City of Stories Writer in Residence

Leone Ross


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Leone Ross is the author of two critically-acclaimed novels, All The Blood Is Red and Orange Laughter. Her fiction has been nominated for the Orange Prize, the V.S Pritchett award, Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize and the 2018 Jhalak Prize. Her short story collection Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree, 2017) was called ‘searingly compassionate’ by the Guardian. Ross teaches at Roehampton University in London.

City of Stories Writer in Residence

Olumide Popoola


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Olumide Popoola’s publications include essays, poetry, the novella this is not about sadness, the play text Also by Mail, the short collection breach, which she co-authored with Annie Holmes, and the critically acclaimed novel When We Speak of Nothing. Olumide has a PhD in Creative Writing and has lectured in creative writing at various universities.

City of Stories Writer in Residence

Gary Budden


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Gary Budden’s debut fiction collection, Hollow Shores, was published by Dead Ink Books in October 2017. He was shortlisted for the 2015 London Short Story Award, and his story ‘Greenteeth’ was nominated for a 2017 British Fantasy Award and adapted into a short film by the filmmaker Adam Scovell.

City of Stories Writer in Residence

Meena Kandasamy


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Meena Kandasamy is the author of five books. Her latest, the auto-ficitonal novel, When I Hit You, was listed as one of the best books of 2017 by the Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times. She lives in East London.

City of Stories writer

Jarred McGinnis


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Jarred McGinnis was the creative director for ‘Moby-Dick Unabridged‘ at the Southbank Centre. His short fiction has been commissioned for BBC Radio 4 and appeared in respected journals worldwide. Most recently he has been shortlisted for the Galley Beggar Story Prize, the Wasafiri New Writing Award, and the Royal Academy Short Story Prize. He is an Associate Writer for Spread the Word, a mentor for the Word Factory‘s Apprentice Scheme and a writer-in-residence at First Story.

City of Stories writer

Bidisha


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Bidisha is a British writer, film-maker and broadcaster for the BBC TV and radio, Channel 4 news and Sky News and is a trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation, looking after the UK’s most prestigious prizes for literature in English and in translation. She is chair of judges for the 2018 Forward Prizes for poetry and has just directed her first short film, An Impossible Poison, which premiered in Berlin in November 2017.

City of Stories writer

Anita Belli


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Anita Belli is a compulsive writer and creative tutor, who caught the writing habit as a child and has spent a lifetime trying to get other people hooked. She is passionate about Art and History, and writes novels about the consequences of the past catching up with us. She is now a full time novelist, and also works with local communities, writers and non-writers, aiming to encourage more people to tell their own story in their own way, and to publish their work.

City of stories writer

Lainy Malkani


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Lainy Malkani is a London born writer, broadcast journalist and presenter with Indo-Caribbean roots. In 2013 she set up the Social History Hub to bring the stories of ‘unsung heroes’ in society to life. Her two-part radio documentary, ‘Sugar, Saris and Green Bananas’, led her to write, ‘Sugar, Sugar Bittersweet Tales of Indian Migrant Workers’, a collection of short stories inspired by historical archive and the memories of the descendants of indentured Indians living in the UK. She has written for the British Library, the Commonwealth and the BBC.

City of Stories writer

Rachel Long


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Rachel Long is a poet and the founder of Octavia – Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, which is housed at Southbank Centre, London. She was shortlisted for Young Poet for Laureate for London in 2014 and awarded a Jerwood/Arvon Foundation mentorship in 2015. Rachel has run poetry workshops for The Poetry School, The Serpentine Galleries and at University of Oxford. She is Assistant Tutor on the Barbican Young Poets programme 2015-present.

City of Stories writer

Tom Mallender


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Tom Mallender is a writer often found wearing differing hats of genre and form. Born and raised in rural Derbyshire he moved to London as a mature student, and stayed. Tom’s work sees him working across London and the South combining poetry, history and prose with archive work and community projects.

City of Stories writer

Lewis Buxton


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Lewis Buxton is a poet and arts producer. Having read English at the University of East Anglia, he now leads creative writing workshops in school and libraries around the country. In 2016 he founded TOAST, an arts project dedicated to the professional development of poets in the U.K. His work has appeared in Ambit, Oxford Poetry, Butchers Dog and Ink, Sweat & Tears. He is currently working on his first pamphlet about sport, masculinity & boyhood.

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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

News

City of Stories: open mic events


  • Archive

City of Stories 2018 competition is
open for entries


  • Archive

City of Stories workshop dates for June 2018


  • Archive

Gary Budden reads ‘A Constellation of Wondrous Places’


  • Network & Knowledge

Olumide Popoola reads ‘Keep the Inside’


  • Network & Knowledge

Leone Ross reads
‘Adulting’


  • Network & Knowledge

Meena Kandasamay reads
‘How to host your Europeans’


  • Network & Knowledge

CITY OF STORIES 2018 SHOWREEL


  • Network & Knowledge

City of Stories 2017
competition winners


  • Archive

City of Stories 2017 Showreel


  • Misc

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