One book. One month. One Eltham. Stella Duffy to launch the Elthamread Oct 2017

Stella Duffy, the acclaimed novelist and playwright, and Clive Efford, MP for Eltham, will jointly launch the 2017 Elthamread at Eltham Library on Monday 2 October at 10 am. The aim of the Elthamread is to encourage everyone who lives in SE9, in south-east London, to read the same book during October then come together at various events to talk about it. The project aims to promote both wider reading and community involvement.

The idea was inspired by the London Cityread and other big book group events run in various locations around the world. The first such event ran in Seattle in 1998. The Elthamread is thought to be the only one of its kind in a London district. The Elthamread was first launched last year when the chosen book was The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish. The book was borrowed more than 150 times from Eltham Library as well as being read by many local bookgroups and individual readers.

The book chosen for this year’s Elthamread is Stella Duffy’s novel London Lies Beneath. Duffy, who is the author of 15 novels and 14 plays, is co-director of the Fun Palaces festival – which promotes science and arts community projects for a weekend each October – and was awarded the OBE last year for services to the arts. Her novel is inspired by the true story of three boys from south London who joined an ill-fated scouting expedition in 1912. It was chosen earlier this year by a panel of Elthamread supporters because of its vivid story and rich detail which bring to life a working class south London community as well as exploring important social themes.

The Elthamread has a host of events planned for October this year. They include

  • Eltham Library becomes a Fun Palace - arts, crafts and writing events all day on 7 October
  • Stella Duffy talks about her book at Eltham Library on 24 October 7 pm
  • The Big Elthamread Book Quiz – test your knowledge about Eltham and books at the GPO pub, Passey Place, Eltham, on 30 October 8 pm

The idea for an Elthamread was first proposed by local author Wendy Moore. It is supported by Eltham Library, community magazine SEnine and local company Want a Website as well as by local short story and flash fiction writer Joanna Sterling.

Clive Efford will launch the Elthamread by reading the opening paragraph of the book. He said: ‘I am delighted to support the Elthamread and I’m looking forward to reading the full book. I believe the Elthamread is an inspiring initiative which should bring people in SE9 together over a good book.’

Stella Duffy will also read an excerpt from the novel. She said: ‘I’m thrilled that London Lies Beneath has been chosen for the Elthamread 2017 and hope people in SE9 enjoy the book. I look forward to meeting readers later in the month.’

Wendy Moore said: ‘I’m so pleased the Elthamread has caught people’s imaginations. We had a great response to last year’s events and we are hoping for an even bigger and better response this year. I think Stella Duffy’s book will inspire lots of discussion about different topics.’

Miriam Storey, librarian at Eltham Library, said: ‘We are excited to be hosting the Elthamread for the second year running. We hope to see lots of people coming in to borrow the book and enjoy our events. In particular we are delighted to sign up to the Fun Palaces initiative, of which Stella Duffy is co-director, and have an exciting programme of activities planned at Eltham Library on 7 October.’

Press are welcome to attend the launch at 10 am on 2 October in Eltham Library, the Eltham Centre, Archery Road, London SE9 1HA. For more information about the Elthamread contact:

Wendy Moore email tel 07771 770189 or

Joanna Sterling email tel 07553131635    Elthamread    @realelthamread   #ElthamRead2017