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West London sets the scene for grassroot literary revival post-pandemic

West London provides a fertile ground for grassroot literary revival with a Harlesden event of poetry readings in May and a July literary festival in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Poet Charlotte Baldwin debuts printed works with a reading

On Saturday, 13 May 2023, we attended a poetry pamphlet launch and reading by Charlotte Baldwin at The Lab at Oaklands Rise in Harlesden, West London, UK.

The ‘pamphlet’ is an impressive 50-something pages of a booklet published and designed by Nine Pens. It’s an effort that took Baldwin seven years, from writing the poems to entering competitions, to finally having them published as a printed collection titled With My Lips Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth.

Emma Simon was also there as a guest poet. Whilst Baldwin did her reading, artist Zahra Quadri did a live sketching of her interpretation of the poems.

We truly enjoyed the performance. I shit a white rabbit is a surreal poem that Baldwin told us was influenced by the pandemic. There were also poems inspired by the animal kingdom, such as If Leg Wax Were Essential For Tigers. And there was also the reading of a piece inspired by Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, a poem called Bright Carver. What made an impression to us was the reading of the poem Families Can Only Be Grown on Arable Land.

The last poem was shortlisted for the Café Writers Prize. It was also longlisted for the National Poetry Competition in 2021.

Baldwin’s printed collection of poems took seven years to materialise. Congratulations for the maiden publication of With My LIps Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth. Image: ©Story Of Books

We’re pleased that after three years, and after an unseasonably chilly start of the year, grassroot poetry readings are flourishing again as a community event in West London.

Congratulations, Charlotte Baldwin and Nine Pens.

About the book

Hammersmith & Fulham Writers’ Festival comes in July 2023

West London’s literature scene is booming, so make sure you check out the Hammersmith & Fulham Writers’ Festival which will take place between 7 and 9 July 2023.

The theme for 2023 is Unmuted: Our Time, Our Stories. The three-day ticketed event features workshops, family activities, as well a pitch and Q&A session with Simon & Schuster UK’s Fiction Editorial team.

You can also enter a poetry and short story competition under the theme ‘What if…’. Closing date is 31 May 2023. Send your entry to handfwritersfestival@outlook.com.

The event is supported by the Wilde Foundation, the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, H&F Libraries, White City Place and Arvon.

About the festival

More on poetry on Story Of Books