Literary Road Map of Islington

  • 18
  • Nov

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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Baron, Alexander

1917-1999

Rosie Hogarth (1951). Baron wrote about the changes to a tightknit, working class community in a street close to Chapel Market at the end of WWII.

Barrat, David

Islington Murder Mystery (2012). An army officer’s wife is found dead in the front hall of her home in Islington.

Bawden, Nina

1925-2012

The Ice House (1983) and other titles. The rail campaigner and children’s author lived in at 22 Noel Road and set The Ice House in Islington.

Beecham, Caroline

Maggie’s Kitchen (2016). The story follows the fortunes of Maggie Johnson as she sets up and runs a British Restaurant in Islington during WWII. It features many Islington locations including Upper Street, St Mary's Church, Duncan Street and Barnsbury Road.

Bowen, James

1979-

A Street Cat Named Bob (2012). The story of James and his cat Bob was set around Islington Green and Waterstones.

Browne, Eileen

Handa series (1995-) The author and illustrator lived at 62 Hanley Road from 1976-1994, where she wrote and illustrated Handa’s Surprise.

Betjeman, John

1906-1984

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

1757-1827

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

Blackman, Andrew

1965-

On the Holloway Road (2009). Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the novel is set over one windy night on Holloway Road.

Blackmore, R.D.

1825-1900

Lorna Doone (1869), The Remarkable History of Sir Thomas Upmore, Formerly Known as Tommy Upmore (1884) and other titles. The author’s diary for 1855 has him regularly walking to his chambers in the Temple via Maiden Lane (now York Way). ‘Tommy Upmore’ was also partly set in Maiden Lane.

Bunyan, John

1628-1688

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

Burnett, Gilbert Bishop of Salisbury

1643-1715

History of the Reformation of the Church of England (1679). The Bishop lived in Clerkenwell and was described by John Dryden (1631-1700) as “a portly prince and goodly to the sight.”