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Archive for the 'London, England' Category

December 8th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Sam Wanamaker’s Dream Comes True


Next month the newly constructed SamWanamaker Playhouse will open its doors to the public with a production of The Duchess of Malfi. Located on the Thames, next door to the 17-year-old Globe theatre, the Jacobean-style structure represents the full realization of American actor Sam Wanamaker‘s dream to recreate authentic Shakespearean environments, both in and out door, in London where modern audiences can go to experience the Bard’s genius in ways it was experienced four hundred years ago.  

Based on designs by a protégé of Tudor architect Inigo Jones, the new theatre, unlike The Globe, is closed-roofed and candlelit. Two tiers of galleries and a pit area provide seating for an audience of 340.  


September 4th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Charles Ricketts in Richmond Park

Photo: Wiki

Referring to his new home at 8 Spring Terrace, Richmond, the great personality, connoisseur, book and stage designer Charles Ricketts ( 1866 – 1931) once wrote: “The place is an ideal one for walks, there is the heart of Richmond Park, mists, water, stags, fallen trees, desolation and rabbits…”

As J. G. P. Delaney writes in his biography,

“Ricketts had wanted the ashes to be scattered to the four winds, so Lewis, Sturge Moore, Lowinsky, and two others went to Richmond Park, where Ricketts had so loved to walk. The five friends began scattering the ashes, which were in a shoe box, but they seemed endless and kept being blown into Sturge Moore’s long beard, turning the white into black. With increasing frenzy, they scattered and scattered. In spite of the solemn ceremony, Lewis could imagine Ricketts doubling up with laughter, ‘chocking and convulsed…tears streaming down his face, as he laughed when something overwhelmed him…’ Finally, to everyone’s relief, Lowinsky suggested to Lewis that perhaps the remaining ashes should be scattered on the ground in Italy which Ricketts had given him.

This Lewis duly did. A niche was hollowed out of the cliff face, where the bronze head of Ricketts by Wells was placed. It still looks over the narrow garden towards the beautiful lake.”

August 13th, 2013 • Posted in London, England, Ottawa, ON

National Libraries: British and Canadian: A study in Contrasts

Here’s what’s coming up at the British Library for September 2013:

Speakers’ Corner at the British Library

Mon 2 Sep 2013 – Thu 5 Sep 2013, 13.00-13.45

Price: Free, no booking required  More

Dear World: Editors, Poets and Trans-Cultural Practice

Fri 6 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.30 Price: £4 / £3 concessions

Super Family Sunday : The end of Propaganda

Sun 8 Sep 2013, 11.00-16.00 Price: Free

Do the Right Thing

Mon 9 Sep 2013 Price: None

The Rediscovery of Wisdom

Mon 9 Sep 2013, 18.45-20.15 Price: £8 / £5 concessions

When Britain Burned the White House

Tue 17 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.30 Price: £8 / £5 concessions

Folk Song in England Study Day

Sat 21 Sep 2013, 09.30-17.00 Price: £10 (no concessions)

You are the Ref

Mon 23 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.00 Price: Free, booking essential

International Translation Day 2013

Mon 30 Sep 2013, 09.00-17.00 Price: £30 / £20 concessions

Boccaccio & Company: an introduction to the Decameron

Mon 30 Sep 2013, 10.00-16.00 Price: £25 / £20 concessions

Laughs in Translation

Mon 30 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.30  Price: £10 / £8 concessions

More  Book now

Here’s what’s coming up at Library and Archives Canada for September 2013:

That’s right. Absolutely nothing.

What’s wrong with this country anyway?

July 31st, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Some 20th Century Fiction Set in London

U.S. First Edition
Joseph Conrad – The Secret Agent (1907)
P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster novels
Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway (1925)
 G. K. Chesterton The Napoleon of Notting Hill
Patrick Hamilton – 20,000 Streets Under The Sky (1935)
Cameron McCabe – The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor
Patrick Hamilton – Hangover Square (1941)
Patrick White – The Living and the Dead (1941)
Norman Collins – London Belongs to Me (1945)
Elizabeth Bowen – The Heat of the Day (1949)
George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Agatha Christie – Crooked House (1949)
John Wyndham – The Day of the Triffids (1951)
Graham Greene – The End of the Affair (1951)
Samuel Selvon – Lonely Londoners (1955)
Colin MacInnes’s City of Spades (1957), Absolute Beginners (1959)

Iris Murdoch – A Severed Head (1961)

Muriel Spark – The Girls of Slender Means (1963)
Doris Lessing – The Four-Gated City (1969)
Michael Moorcock – Jerry Cornelius stories (from 1969), Mother London (1989)
Maureen Duffy – Capital (1975)
Peter Ackroyd – The Great Fire of London (1982), Hawksmoor (1985
Iain Banks – Walking on Glass (1985), Dead Air (2002)
Martin Amis – Money (1984), London Fields (1989)
Tom Clancy – Patriot Games (1987)
Hanif Kureishi – The Buddha of Suburbia (1987)
Salman Rushdie – The Satanic Verses (1989)
Josephine Hart – Damage (1991)
Bernice Rubens – A Solitary Grief (1991)
Barbara Vine – King Solomon’s Carpet (1991)
Nick Hornby – High Fidelity (1996)
Will Self – Grey Area (1996)
Julian Barnes – Metroland (1997)
Helen Fielding – Bridget Jones’ Diary (1997)
Anthony Frewin – London Blues (1997)
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (1997)
Ian McEwan – Enduring Love (1997)
Geoff Nicholson – Bleeding London (1997)
Once you’ve chosen your poison, check out some of the great literary destinations, activities and events to be visited in London on Literary Tourist’s listings map here.
July 13th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Sylvia Plath had the instincts of a literary tourist

In 1962 Sylvia Plath decided to return to London from Devon, where her marriage to Ted Hughes had fallen apart. In November of that year she and her two children moved into a maisonette at 23 Fitzroy Road,  a house in which W.B Yeats had lived as a boy. Plath reportedly liked this connection and saw it as a good omen. Each morning at four o’clock she would get up to write in a “white heat” what would become known as the Ariel poems. Less than three months later she committed suicide.

March 7th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Prose at the Pub: Laura Del-Rivo in conversation with Cathi Unsworth

Prose at the Pub: Laura Del-Rivo in conversation with Cathi Unsworth

The Mitre, Lord Craven Grill, 24 Craven Terrace London W2 3QH

Sunday 24 March at 5.00 pm

Tickets at the door: £5

Laura Del-Rivo, one of the first female writers of the Beat generation, will talk to Cathi Unsworth about the dark, Pinteresque stories she’s currently working on which beautifully capture the area around Portobello Road and its colourful characters.

Del-Rivo’s debut novel The Furnished Room, is according to the Guardian ‘an evocative taste of black-coffee blues’. Published in 1961,  it was filmed in 1963 by Michael Winner as West 11. Laura runs a designer tights stall on Fridays & Saturdays at Portobello Market. More information here.

February 14th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Visit Writers Block in London

Carlyle Mansions is an apartment block located on Cheyne Walk, in Chelsea, London. Named after Thomas Carlyle, a longtime resident of the area, the building is nicknamed the “Writers’ Block” because it has been home to a ton of authors, among them, Henry James, Erskine Childers, T. S. Eliot, Somerset Maugham, and Ian Fleming.

Built in 1886 Carlyle Mansions features ornate designs and detailing with carvings in Portland stone and red brick. Most notably it features ten stone relief panels depicting birds and flowers. Architectural and building journal, The Builder, suggested at the time that these were based on scenes from Aesop’s fables. It went on to describe ‘fireproofed floors, and a staircase featuring “a wrought-iron grille railing…and a passenger lift by the American Elevator Company”

Henry James lived at No.21 from January 1913 until his death in February 1916. Poet T.S. Eliot lived at No.19 from 1946 until 1957, during which time he wrote Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948), The Cocktail Party (1949) and The Confidential Clerk (1953).

Ian Fleming moved to No.24 in August 1950. Here he began the James Bond series, completing the first draft of Casino Royale in early 1952.

Eliot shared his flat with editor John Hayward. According to biographer Peter Ackroyd “Hayward’s own rooms were at the front of the building and looked over the river and the gardens while Eliot satisfied himself with a study and bedroom down a dark passage at the back of the building. They were small and cheerless rooms. His bedroom was lit by a bare electric lightbulb, there was an ebony crucifix above his single bed, and the window looked out upon a brick wall. His study resembled that ‘of a ninetieth-century pedagogue or parson.’”



January 18th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Literary Travel 2013 for the Biblio Tennis Fan

Though it’s a tad late to make it to this week’s Australian Open ( 14 – 27 January 2013)  in Melbourne Park, Melbourne Australia, there’s plenty of time to plan trips to Paris around the French Open 26 May to 9 June at Roland Garros (Men’s Singles Winner 2012 – Rafael Nadal. Women’s Singles Winner 2012 – Maria Sharapova). Your accompanying Literary Tourist map here.

London, around Wimbledon 24 June to 7 July at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club  (Gentlemen’s Singles Winner 2012 – Roger Federer; Ladies’ Singles Winner 2012 – Serena Williams) Your accompanying Literary Tourist map here; and

New York around the US Open 26 August to 9 September, Flushing Meadow (Men’s Singles Winner 2012 – Andy Murray;  Women’s Singles Winner 2012 – Serena Williams). Your accompanying Literary Tourist map here.


January 17th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Audio: London Literary Walk: Poetry and literature in Kensington Gardens

Peter Pan, Kensington Gdns.

The Guardian’s Sarah Crown explores Kensington Gardens with Nick Lane, the park’s education and community engagement officer. Listen as they talk about the place that has inspired literary luminaries such as JM Barrie, Matthew Arnold and Ezra Pound.

July 29th, 2012 • Posted in CITIES, Literary Destinations, London, England

A different sort of London Map

If you’re heading to London, England this year, as millions are…here’s a different sort of map for you: David Perdue’s Dickens’ London map: