Cityread London returns during April, with an amazing line-up of events all themed around Sebastian Faulks‘s novel A Week in December. The book is set over seven days in London on the eve of the financial crash and follows several Londoners – a hedge fund owner, an Asian pickle magnate and his fundamentalist son, a barrister, journalist and tube driver – as they weave in and out of each others’ lives.
We asked organiser Andy Ryan what drew her to the novel, and she candidly admits the idea wasn’t hers. “While we were still running last year’s event we invited publishers to submit books that were ‘Londony’ and accessible. Vintage put forward A Week in December and it ticked lots of boxes. They spelled out the connection with the 150th anniversary of the tube and it was a no-brainer! The book also has lots of different ways in and for people to engage.”
Last year’s chosen novel was Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, to link up with the author’s 200th anniversary. But while there are distinct advantages to featuring an author who’s still breathing, Andy explains there are also disadvantages. “You can’t just make stuff up about him like you can about Dickens! Everything needs to be signed off. But Sebastian will be doing lots of media and events during April.” You can see him at the British Library on 8 April (6.30pm, £7.50 / £5) and opening Woolwich Library on 30 April.
Other events that caught our eye are the opening night librarian DJ slamdown at Free Word Centre, comic book workshops for kids in libraries across London, Antony Clayton giving talks at Kensington and Mayfair libraries about subterranean London, Sarah Wise on Victorian psychiatry, plus drama and creative writing workshops. We heartily recommend having a browse of Cityread’s event calendar to find what’s happening near you – there’s stuff happening in libraries in all 33 boroughs, plus Curzon cinemas.
Cityread London starts 2 April with events running throughout the month. For more information see the Cityread website.