The Elthamread 2017
The idea of the Elthamread is for everyone living in SE9 to read the same book each October then come together at various events to discuss our views. The aim is to encourage people to read books and talk about them.
Elthamread Launch Event
Author Stella Duffy and Eltham MP Clive Efford jointly launched the 2017 Elthamread on 2 October. The launch, at Eltham Library, attracted a large crowd of enthusiasts. Clive Efford read the opening paragraphs of this year’s chosen Elthamread book London Lies Beneath and the book’s author, Stella Duffy, read the succeeding section. Clive revealed that he had been brought up in Walworth, where the book’s story is set, and was briefly a barrow boy in the East Lane market there. Stella, who was born in Woolwich, mesmerised the audience with her exhilarating reading from the book.
Various events are taking place throughout October for people to come together and learn more about the story or talk about the book. Stella Duffy returns to Eltham Library on 24 October at 7.30 pm to discuss the book and writing in general with local writer Wendy Moore.
Announcing the Elthamread 2017!
Stella Duffy’s novel London Lies Beneath has been chosen as the Elthamread book for this year. The novel is based on the true story of three 12-year-old boys from south London who joined an ill-fated scouting expedition in 1912. The book was picked for its vivid and touching story which generates lots of different themes and issues ripe for discussion.
London Lies Beneath tells the story of three friends, Tom, Jimmy and Itzhak, living in the poor community of Walworth, who are inspired to join Lord Baden-Powell’s newly-formed Boy Scouts and take part in a sailing expedition down the Thames. It is no plot spoiler to reveal that the trip ends in disaster. The book’s coverline states ‘August 1912: three friends set out on an adventure. Two of them come home.’
The plot is based on the true story of a scouting trip on the Training Ship Arethusa which ended in tragedy. This main thread is interwoven with the lives and voices of the boys’ families and neighbours living in the crowded slums of working-class Walworth and working in the bustling East Lane market. A third strand follows Edward Lovett, also a factual character, a bank cashier from Croydon who scoured London’s markets buying charms and amulets for his folklore collection. Many of the charms he collected are held in the Cuming Museum in Southwark and the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill. Duffy has described London Lies Beneath, her 14th novel, as ‘a song of south London’.
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