Literary Road Map of Islington

  • 04
  • 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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O’Farrell, Maggie


Instructions for a Heatwave (2013). O’Farrell set her novel in Highbury.

O’Neill, J.M.


God is Dead on Balls Pond Road (1967), Duffy is Dead (1987). Former landlord of The Duke of Wellington Pub on Balls Pond Road.

Okri, Ben


The Famished Road (1991) and other titles. The Booker Prize winning author lived at 46 Loraine Road in the mid 1990s.

Orton, Joe


Entertaining Mr Sloane (1964), Loot (1965), What the Butler Saw (first performance 1969) and other titles. Orton lived with his partner Kenneth Halliwell at 25 Noel Road from 1959, writing his best known works in the bedsit flat until his death in 1967.

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.

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.

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.

Pemberton, Victor


Doctor Who, Adventures of Black Beauty and other plays and scripts. The scriptwriter and television producer was born in Islington and wrote for the BBC and ITV.

Pilger, Zoe


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