The Elthamread 2018

The 2018 Elthamread has been a huge success. Copies of our Elthamread choice, Mr Loverman, were borrowed repeatedly from Eltham Library and the ebook, available through a joint council website, became not only the most borrowed title in Greenwich but in Bromley and Wandsworth too. Record audiences attended five events through October and November. Roughly 100 people came to hear the Elthamread author Bernardine Evaristo talk about her book. At the Secret Lives event, about 70 people enjoyed hearing short stories written by Eltham Writers Group performed by members of Bob Hope Theatre. The quiz was a popular finale as before.

In October we launched the Eltham Book Bank in conjunction with Greenwich Food Banks. The Book Bank provides new books to people visiting Eltham Food Bank. We raised £175 to buy books in the run-up to Christmas. We are appealing for donations of new, or as new, books (paperbacks for adults; paperbacks or hardbacks for children). They should be brought to the collection point at Eltham Library in the Eltham Centre, 2 Archery Road, London SE9 1HA.

The Elthamread 2019

Nominations are now being sought for the Elthamread 2019. We are looking for suggestions for a book published in paperback by a living author. It should be an accessible read with a local or London-theme if possible. Ideas should be sent to Miriam Storey Miriam.Storey@GLL.ORG or handed in at Eltham Library.

Nominations are needed by 25 January 2019.

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo is the 2018 Elthamread

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Elthamread is Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo. The book was chosen for its vivid, colourful and humorous portrayal of London life and should have broad appeal to readers of all ages and interests. Bernadine, who was a pupil at Eltham Hill School for seven years, will be coming to Eltham Library on 30 October to talk about the novel. The Elthamread will be launched at the beginning of October with various events through the month to explore ideas and themes in the book.

Eltham MP Clive Efford launches Elthamread 2018
Eltham MP Clive Efford launches the Elthamread 2018
Elthamread founder Wendy Moore and MP Clive Efford reading from the 2018 Elthamread book Mr Lover Man
Elthamread founder Wendy Moore and MP Clive Efford reading from Mr Lover Man
Eltham Library manager Miriam Storey hands over the first books for the Eltham Book Bank to Greenwich Food Bank CEO Alan Robinson
Miriam Storey hands over books to Greenwich Food Bank CEO Alan Robinson
Joanna Sterling welcomes audience at Secret Lives, Eltham Library
Joanna Sterling welcomes audience at Secret Lives, Eltham Library

The Book

LovermanMr Loverman tells the story of Barrington Jedidiah Walker, a seventy-four year old man who leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, Barrington has lived in Hackney since the 1960s. A flamboyant, wisecracking local character with a dapper taste in retro suits and a fondness for quoting Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father and grandfather. His deeply religious wife, Carmel, suspects he sleeps with other women. In fact, Barrington is secretly homosexual and in a relationship with his great childhood friend Morris. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington wants to divorce Carmel and live with Morris. But after a lifetime of fear and deception, will he manage to break away?

Mr Loverman is a ground-breaking exploration of Britain's older Caribbean community which explodes cultural myths and provides lessons for us all in showing what can happen when people fear the consequences of being true to themselves.

Dawn French: Mr Loverman is 'hilarious, poignant, clever, controversial and courageous in equal measure'.

Published by Penguin in 2013, Mr Loverman is 320 pages long. RRP £8.99. It will be on sale at The Blackheath Bookshop (Waterstone’s) in Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, and at usual shops and websites. It will be available to borrow from Eltham Library.

The Author

Bernardine Evaristo 2014 credit Marlon James
Bernardine Evaristo 2014 Photo - Marlon James

Bernardine Evaristo is the award-winning author of eight books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora – past, present, real and imagined - including Mr Loverman, Blonde Roots, Lara and The Emperor’s Babe.

Evaristo at Eltham Hill School
Evaristo at Eltham Hill School

Her other works span the genres of short stories, essays, poetry, literary criticism, stage and radio writing. Two of her novels have been adapted into BBC Radio 4 plays. She has judged many literary prizes and undertaken over 150 international trips, tours, fellowships and residencies as a writer. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the English Association.

She was appointed an MBE in the Queens' Birthday Honours List in 2009.

Bernardine grew up in Woolwich and attended Eltham Hill Girls Grammar School for seven years in the seventies, during which time she was a member of Greenwich Young People’s Theatre. She studied theatre at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and latterly earned her doctorate in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Click here to read Bernardine Evaristo’s  interview and find out about experiences growing up in Eltham and Woolwich – see pages 29-29, more about the British Library’s exhibition Songs in a Strange Land on the Windrush generation – pages 46-47.


Bernardine will be talking about her book, Mr Loverman, at Eltham Library on Tuesday 30th October at 7pm.

The event will include a pop-up bookshop run by The Blackheath Bookshop (Waterstone’s).

Bernardine will answer questions and sign copies of her book.

More events to come...

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