Monday, 22 April 2013

Huddersfield Town in an away match

 London Fictions was launched last night at the Phoenix Artist Club in the West End, just off Charing Cross Road, once the heart, and still important in London's book land. An intrepid team of authors from the book had already done events at Housmans and at the Bishopsgate Institute and there are plenty more to follow, but this was the launch and quite a few of the contributors read from the books that inspired their chapters in London Fictions.
In introducing the evening I commented that although Five Leaves was based in Nottingham, and I hail from the land of the (vegetarian) haggis, we have a long interest in London fiction, London culture, London history, particularly of the old Jewish East End. I don't really know how to explain this interest, but I was followed by Andrew Whitehead - still a strong supporter of Huddersfield Town football club - who described how he came to London and fell in love with the place. If you check out his and his own personal website you will see how this comes out. In the book, if you have not seen it, each chapter talks about one important London novel but is followed by a description of the setting now. Some are written by the chapter contributor, but many are written by Andrew, who dragged his teenage son round some unfamiliar streets of London to familiarise himself with the setting.
Others followed - fellow editor Jerry White, now living in the London suburb of Leamington Spa, Susie Thomas in London-on-sea ie Brighton and others who live in the city but all of whom find inspiration in the streets around them, and the literature of that most multi-cultural of cities.
Of course 26 books are not enough to fully give the flavour of the city. There are more essays on and I think we will have a "More London Fictions" in due course.
Apart from contributors, the launch was attended by people from Housmans (which carries perhaps the best chosen London section of any bookshop) and Joseph's Bookstore, a couple of London fiction reading groups, people from History Workshop and
Our New London Editions series and this book has tapped into a discrete group of readers and writers who know their city and know their literature. We'll continue to do this. Not dissing Nottingham, but I do so wish we could move Five Leaves to London.

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