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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  • Poetry


Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire (2019). The BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur details his life in Archway and his time at Acland Burghley School in Tufnell Park. [

Betjeman, John


Statue of John Betjeman
Summoned by Bells (1960). Betjeman mentions St Saviour’s Church on Aberdeen Park, which he used to attend. He also lived at 329 Holloway Road. New Bats in Old Belfries (1945), Summoned by Bells (1960) and other titles. Betjeman’s family ran a cabinet makers’ business, G. Betjemann & Sons, at 34–42 Pentonville Road.

Blake, William


Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794) and other titles. The poet and artist is buried in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground.

Bunyan, John


The Pilgrims’ Progress (1678) and other titles. The writer, preacher and author is buried in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground.

Clarke, Adrian

Skeleton Sonnets (2002), Eurochants (2010) and other titles. The poet worked for Islington Libraries.

Cowley, Abraham


Of Solitude (1668) and other titles. “Let but thy wicked men from out thee go / And all the fools that crowd thee so / Even thou who dost thy millions boast / A village less than Islington will grow / A solitude almost”

Duffy, Dame Carol Ann


The former Poet Laureate, along with other authors, took part in protests outside Pentonville Prison in 2014, against the government ban on prisoners being allowed books in their cells.

Eliot, T.S.


Four Quartets 1: Burnt Norton, III (1941). Eliot refers to Clerkenwell as one of “The gloomy hills of London, Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney, Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate.” In The Wasteland (1922) Eliot wrote “highbury bore me..’ in the second draft of the poem. His first wife, Vivian, edited it out of the third and final draft.

Goldsmith, Oliver


The Good-Natur’d Man (1768), She Stoops to Conquer (1771) and other titles. The writer lived in Canonbury Tower from 1762-64.

Hegley, John


Visions of the Bone Idol (1984) and other titles. The poet and musician, grew up in Beversbrook Road.

Heywood, Thomas


A Woman Killed with Kindness (c.1603). Heywood was the resident playwright at the Red Bull Theatre, which was based in what is now Haywood’s Place. He was living in Clerkenwell at the time of his death.

James, Clive


Falling Towards England (1985) and other titles. Lived in Tufnell Park in “a first floor horror of a room at the high end of Tufnell Park Road” in 1962.