Lewisham, Borough of Literature

UK’s first Borough of Literature

Spread the Word has a big, bold vision to see Lewisham declared as the UK’s first Borough of Literature – do you want to be part of it?


Did you know that Lewisham is already…

  • Rich with word-related creative activities.
  • Home to some of London’s best new writers and famous authors.
  • Home to many arts charities working with words, stories, and poetry, and many more that include creative writing, publishing, spoken word and other art forms like film-making and music.

Being Borough of Literature would give our borough recognition, would drive funding towards word-related activities in the area, give existing and new, talented writers more opportunities to share their work and reach a bigger audience. And more children, young people and communities would have the opportunity to explore what it means to be a writer and develop their creativity.

And why us?

Spread the Word has supported and celebrated writers in Lewisham for nearly 30 years, ever since we were founded in 1995 by Booker Prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo and Ruth Borthwick (now Chair of the Board of English PEN), “with the aim to make British literature more inclusive of all voices”. We have worked hard to gain a national and international reputation for initiating change-making research, and for developing programmes for writers that have equity and social justice at their heart. And we have the big ambition needed to make this happen!

What’s next?

We want to create our Borough of Literature for and with participation from all of Lewisham’s community, from school children to elders, community groups to businesses, open green spaces to public buildings. Whoever and wherever, we would like you to be involved.

Throughout 2024, Spread the Word will be hosting public meetings with local communities like schools, writers and creatives, businesses, charities, community groups, to find out: what would a Borough of Literature mean to you? And why is it important for Lewisham? We have some ideas, but we want to hear yours!

We are also recruiting an Advisory Group who can co-create the activities, partnerships, promotions, programmes, and impact of a Lewisham Borough of Literature. We will do a call out for participants for the Advisory Group in the coming months so if this peaks your interest, please keep an eye out for further news.

Get involved!

  1. If you’re a writer or storyteller living in Lewisham, complete our writers’ survey by 30 June:
  2. Follow us on social media and keep up to date with #BoroughOfLiterature
  3. Sign up to our newsletter to see news as it comes out
  4. Sign up to help make Lewisham the Borough of Literature
  5. Here is a flyer you can share with your friends and family to encourage them to get involved.

Instagram: @spreadthewordwriters Facebook: @spreadthewordwriters Twitter/X: @STWevents

Audio Version

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BSL interpretation

Information about Lewisham becoming London’s first Borough of Literature by BLS intepreter Michelle Wood.