Literary Road Map of Islington

  • 29
  • Jun

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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  • Non-fiction

Pennant, Thomas


The British Zoology (1762) The Welsh naturalist wrote, what is considered to be, the first illustrated volume describing British native species. Proceeds from the publication was for the benefit of Welsh Orphanage in Clerkenwell (now the Marx Memorial Library).

Paillou, Peter


The British Zoology (1762) The artist illustrated what is thought to be the first volume describing British native species, written by Thomas Pennant. He lived at 23 Paradise Place, now 533 Liverpool Road.

Pepys, Samuel


The Diary of Samuel Pepys (1664/65). Pepys wrote about “gadding about” Clerkenwell on Lord’s Day, Oct 2 1664 with his son, while his wife was ill at home.

Oldham, John


Allusion to Martial (1682). Oldham wrote “Tis a long way to where I dwell / At the far end of Clerkenwell / There in a garret next the sky / Up five pair of stairs I lie.” The poet & satirist lived in Clerkenwell.

O’Brien, James “Bronterre”


The Rise, Progress, and Phases of Human Slavery (1885) and other titles. The chartist, writer and activist was living at 20 Hermes Street (which is where the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School is now located in Donegal Street) at the time of his death.

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.

Paine, Thomas


Rights of Man (1791). It is claimed that the political activist began writing Rights of Man while staying at the Angel Inn, late 1790. The work is also said to have been partly written while he stayed at Old Red Lion Public House in St John Street.

Rubin, Gareth

Liberation Square (2019) The author and national newspaper journalist wrote his novel in various cafes on Upper Street.

Schillinger, Naomi

Veg Street: Grow Your Own Community (2013). The gardener, writer and photographer lives in Finsbury Park.

Stead, W.T.


The journalist, campaigner and author was imprisoned in Holloway Prison in 1885 for his role in a campaign against child prostitution.

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.

White, Jerry


Campbell Bunk: The Worst Street in North London Between the Wars (2003). Set in Campbell Street (now Whadcoat Street).