Five years after the launch of Chiswick’s Writers Trail, celebrating 21 top authors who lived in Chiswick, 15 more novelists, dramatists and poets appear in a new enlarged edition, to mark this year’s 15th Chiswick Book Festival.
New names unveiled this week at a launch event at The Chiswick Cinema include Carla Lane, creator of three of TV’s most popular comedies, The Liver Birds, Butterflies and Bread; Lynn Redgrave, who wrote Shakespeare for My Father and other plays about her famous family; Samuel Richardson, called ‘one of the fathers of the English novel’ for Pamela and Clarissa; Geoffrey Household, author of Rogue Male; and Edgar Wallace, creator of King Kong and one of the most prolific and filmed writers of the 20th Century.
They join poets Dylan Thomas and James Berry and humorists Michael Flanders and Stephen Potter, who were announced a year ago in May 2022; and six more poets added in September 2022, including William Morris and the two earliest names, Lady Mary Sidney and John Donne, Prebendary of Chiswick, both born in the 16th Century.
Chiswick writers on the original 2018 Trail include WB Yeats, Harold Pinter, Dame Iris Murdoch, John Osborne, WM Thackeray, Alexander Pope, EM Forster, JG Ballard, Anthony Burgess, Nancy Mitford and Robert Bolt.
The launch was attended by many of those who helped compile the list or live in houses and roads featured on the trail as well as theatre and film directors, local councillors and the designers of the Writers Trail maps.
Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, said: “When we created the Chiswick Writers Trail in 2018, I was delighted to have found 21 acclaimed writers who had lived here. After assiduous research, we have added 15 notable dramatists, novelists and poets and enlarged the map. We hope local residents and others will enjoy exploring the Trail and finding out more about the writers who made Chiswick their home.
“I’m very grateful to those who have helped us establish Chiswick’s remarkable literary heritage – and particularly to Val Bott of the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society, who has unearthed many names and kept me on the straight and narrow! Thanks too to Chris Parker of The Chiswick Cinema, for sponsoring the new edition, enabling us to keep it free of charge. And my particular thanks go to Karen Liebreich of Abundance London, who created the Chiswick Timeline mural which inspired the Writers Trail; to Sarah Cruz who designed the 2028 Trail map; and Jennifer Yen, who has built on Sarah’s work to create the beautiful new 2023 edition.”
The Writers Trail forms part of the Chiswick Timeline of Writers & Books, an online archive of more than 400 writers who have lived in Chiswick – or are linked with the area – and written a book. It is listed chronologically and by genre at https://www.chiswickbookfestival.net/timeline-of-chiswick-writers-books/
This was inspired by the Chiswick Timeline: A History in Art and Maps, the remarkable mural under the bridges outside Turnham Green tube station, created by Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz of Abundance London, with Transport for London. In 2019 The Observer wrote that ‘Chiswick may be Britain’s most literary location’. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/07/chiswick-literature-writers-festival?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
Photo by Roger Green