Literary Road Map of Islington

Celebrate our borough's long, rich heritage of authors, screenwriters, poets and writers who live or work here

Literary Road Map of Islington celebrates our borough’s long, rich heritage of authors, screenwriters, poets and writers who have lived here, and the literary works which have been inspired by or set here.

Search the list below to see the novels, plays and poems which were written about Islington and the authors, such as Andrea Levy (1956-2019), who were born or lived in the borough, or Charles Dickens (1812-1870, who used various locations around Islington in their novels.

Also, look at our interactive map to see the literary connections to your area of Islington. To do this click on ‘Show Layers’, ‘Recreation & Leisure’ and check the ‘Literary Road Map’ box.


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  • Fiction

Oudot, Susan


Real Women (1995), Coronation Street (2012-). The author and scriptwriter grew up Milner Square and off Caledonian Road.

Owens, Lewis

The Pentonville Experiment (2018). A historical novel about a newly opened ‘model’ prison, and those who have passed through its doors.

Orwell, George


Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (1945), Nineteen Eighty-four (1949) and other titles. Orwell moved to 27b Canonbury Square in Autumn 1944 with his wife and son after being bombed out of their previous flat in Mortimer Crescent, and lived there until 1947. Parts of his last novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, were written there. The photo shows his son Richard Blair at the unveiling of a heritage plaque at the flat.

Paget, Sidney


Illustrator for the Sherlock Homes stories was born at 60 Pentonville Road.

Pilger, Zoe


Eat my Heart Out (2014). The novel is set in part in Islington.

Rushdie, Salman


Satanic Verses (1988). Rushdie stayed in Lonsdale Square when he was in hiding, while living under a fatwa, after the book’s publication.

Rourke, Lee


Regent’s Canal (2002). The book is set on and around the canal.

Spark, Muriel


The Symposium (1990). The novel is set around a dinner party in Islington, ending with the murder of the murder of one of the guests.

Swinnerton, Frank


George Gissing: a Critical Study (1912) and other titles. The biographer, novelist and essayist lived at 150 Farringdon Road as a boy from 1890-99.

Thackeray, William Makepeace


Vanity Fair (1848) and other titles. The writer spent his formative years at Charterhouse.

Waugh, Evelyn


Decline and Fall (1928) and other titles. Waugh lived at 17a Canonbury Square from 1928-29.

Wilde, Oscar


Wilde was imprisoned in Holloway Prison, awaiting trial for gross indecency and then in Pentonville Prison after his conviction in 1895.