Literary Road Map of Islington

  • 27
  • Oct

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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Bennett, Arnold


Riceyman Steps (1923). The story is about Henry Earlforward who owns a second-hand bookshop in Riceyman Steps, which were based on Gwynne Place, leading up from King’s Cross Road to Granville Square (Riceyman Square in the book).

Banks, Iain


Wasp Factory (1984), Walking on Glass (1985) and other titles. Banks lived at 27 Islington Park Street and wrote Wasp Factory while living there.

Baron, Alexander


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


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


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


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.

Blackman, Andrew


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.


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.