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’.

For more information click here.

Elthamread Launch Event

Stella Duffy Clive Efford elthamread elthamAuthor 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.


Events included:

Monday 2 October 10 am – the Elthamread 2017 Launch

Eltham MP Clive Efford will open the Elthamread 2017 at Eltham Library, the Eltham Centre, Archery Road, London SE9 1HA. All welcome.

Saturday 7 October – Eltham Library becomes a Fun Palace

Join us at Eltham Library for arts, crafts and writing events as part of the national Fun Palaces festival. All welcome. All free.

10-12 am – Knit Your Own Bookworm bookmark. Bring your own wool and needles (3mm needles & 4ply wool if possible) - fun colours are best. Everything else provided. You need to be able to knit.

2.30-3.30 pm – Oral Storytelling. Join in to create an oral story inspired by unusual artefacts. Open to all.

All day – Displays of artworks created by Nicola White of Tideline Art from her mudlarking and beachcombing finds along the Thames and Medway Rivers. Make your own artwork inspired by charms and mudlarking finds. Materials provided.

Monday 9 Oct 7-9 pm – Eltham Writers group

First meeting of the Eltham Writers group at the GPO pub, Passey Place, SE9 5DQ. If you are a writer or aspiring writer join us to share and discuss your work. The group will meet on the second Monday of every month at the GPO.

Tuesday 17 Oct 2 pm – Nunhead Cemetery talk

Jeffrey. M. Hart from the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery will give a talk at Eltham Library about the Leysdown tragedy on which the Elthamread book London Lies Beneath is based. There is a memorial at the cemetery to those that died

 Tuesday 24 Oct 7:00 pm - An evening with author Stella Duffy

stella duffy reading elthamreadStella Duffy, author of the 2017 Elthamread book London Lies Beneath, will talk about writing her book and answer questions. Come along to get your book signed.

Monday 30 Oct 8 pm – the Big Elthamread Quiz

Test your wits on everything you know about Eltham and books at the Big Elthamread Quiz at the GPO pub, Passey Place, SE9 5DQ. £2 entry. Prizes.