Spread the Word with London Libraries announce pan-London creative reading and writing programme City of Stories Home


Spread the Word, in partnership with London Libraries, is pleased to announce City of Stories Home, a free six month creative writing and reading programme taking place across every London Borough and the City of London between February to June 2022. City of Stories Home celebrates libraries as the place to make and share stories in our local communities. 

Ruth Harrison, Director, Spread the Word, says: “We’re proud to be working with London Libraries on City of Stories Home celebrating the essential role libraries have in our local communities from supporting people during Covid-19 to providing welcoming and accessible spaces where London’s diverse communities can be inspired to write their stories, discover new stories to read and create connections across the city.” 

Caroline Rae, President of London Libraries, says: “London Libraries are delighted that we will be working with Spread the Word to deliver City of Stories Home. With the largest network of public libraries of any city in the world, this project will take creative writing opportunities into the heart of neighbourhoods across London.  Libraries are both venues for Londoners to discover culture on their doorstep and hubs of creativity where many artists and writers begin their journey. We look forward to seeing the stories that emerge from this project.”

City of Stories Home will be launched with original commissioned short stories on the theme of home and top tips on writing short stories from Writers-in-Residence Natasha Brown, Amer Anwar, Jarred McGinnis and Caleb Azumah Nelson and short stories from emerging writers, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, Ruth Goldsmith, Iqbal Hussain and S. Niroshini. 

Londoners are being invited to get creative at their local library by taking part in 33 free online creative writing workshops during February 2022 led by writers, including Tice Cin, Maame Blue, Amita Murray, Arun Das, Charlotte Heather and Lorraine Brown amongst others.They will be able to enter the City of Stories Home competition, judged by the Writers-in-Residence. Winning writers will have the opportunity to have their story published in the City of Stories Home Anthology and take part in masterclasses from the Writers-in-Residence. 

Natasha Brown, writer, says: “London’s libraries are a fantastic resource. As a lifelong Londoner, I’ve enjoyed libraries both as gateways to new literature and serene places to work. I’m thrilled to join the City of Stories Home project, helping readers and writers to create and uncover new stories about the city we call home.”

Amer Anwar, writer, says: “Libraries were so important to me when I was young, allowing me access to books when I might otherwise not have had it. They are such a vital resource, in so many ways, and I am very pleased and proud to be involved in a project that celebrates them and also encourages people who have been inspired by their local libraries, just as I was, to try their hand at writing too.”

The City of Stories Home Anthology will be launched in June 2022 at celebration events in local libraries. The Anthology will be available for readers and reading groups in every London library service alongside an accessible collection of short story titles from London’s independent presses curated by librarians. 

City of Stories Home’s partners include Libraries Connected and RNIB Library and is supported by Arts Council England and Cockayne Grants for the Arts.

Published 12 January 2022