Reading Between the Lines

Today, we launch our series of pieces exploring all things literature in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Croydon. Stay tuned for Reading Between the Lines!

Welcome to Reading Between the Lines! Pic: Patrick Tomasso

An entire world of literature exists in Eastlondonlines’ boroughs. They are home to Fitzcarraldo Editions, the small press publishing multiple Nobel laureates, the UK’s oldest anarchist bookshop and a wealth of amateur writer’s groups and book clubs.

According to the latest figures from the Publishers Association, 669 million physical books were sold in the UK last year – the highest sales ever recorded. Although we are living in the digital age, people are still keen to turn the pages of a book and as part of this series we will be highlighting local independent bookshops.

The success of Deptford Literature Festival last month is just one example of how the boroughs are brimming with talent; and more importantly, how many local people are passionate about reading and writing. 

This week Eastlondonlines explores the thriving literary scene on our doorsteps. Check out what’s in store below, and come back to this page to stay updated on new pieces!

Day 1: Monday April 24

Forget Waterstones – find your local independent bookshop

From a comic book store in Croydon to a queer bookshop in Hackney, find the best independent bookstore to pick up your next read

Also remember to follow us on TikTok where we take you along with us

Meet the writers: Joe Thomas

From poets shortlisted for prestigious awards to novelists being adapted for television – this week we will spotlight five local writers making their mark on the literary scene. Today we speak with Joe Thomas

Freedom Press: keeping radical literature in East London

Learn about Whitechapel’s Freedom Press, which is more than a bookshop; it’s a space for radical literature and activism to be shared and kept alive

Queer Writer’s Circle: ‘There are a lot less spaces for queer writers’

An interview with the monthly writing group that focuses on inspiring and connecting LGBTQI+ creatives through the written word

Day 2: Tuesday April 25

Library cuts: ‘It’s not just a loss of librarians, it’s a loss of knowledge’

We spoke to Brian Debus, the 75-year old librarian who is fighting his recent redundancy after working at Shoreditch Library for several decades

Meet the writers: Ayisha Malik and Aea Varfis-van Warmelo

Meet Ayisha Malik, whose recent novel is being adapted for television, and Aea Varies-van Warmelo, a member of Southbank’s New Poets Collective

Fitzcarraldo EditionsThe small press publishing Nobel laureates still has two feet in Deptford

ELL talks to the acclaimed Deptford-based publisher about their involvement in the local literary scene

Solicitor by day, novelist by night

Q+A with Nadine Matheson, the bestselling crime fiction author whose novels are set on her Deptford doorstep

Day 3: Wednesday April 26

Book clubs: ‘The most boring book club meetings are when we all agree’

Local book clubs reveal the secrets to running a successful meeting

Meet the writers: Caroline Druitt and Gita Ralleigh

Meet poet Caroline Druitt and Gita Ralleigh, a London Library Emerging Writer

‘When I’m writing, I’m pulling on elements of Croydon and South London’

An interview with Jeremiah Brown the Croydon writer, poet and actor who is now working with legendary Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott

Reporters: Annabel Martin, Dara Coker, Harry Thorfinn-George and Livia Giannotti

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