7 Ways in Which London Can Inspire Your Story

7 Ways in Which London Can Inspire Your Story

By on Jul 2, 2015 in Special Features


Britain, especially London, has a rich history of literature, much of which is still relevant today. Whether it’s Shakespeare or Wodehouse, Christie or Dickens, British literature is firmly entrenched in the world’s conscience today. It is not too much to say that London is the epicentre of great literature to a large extent. Below are 7 ways in which this magnificent city can inspire your story.

1. Great literary locations

A large number of works have been inspired by London in the past and today, and imaginary places have become real. Whether it is 221 B of Baker Street or the Drones Club of Wooster fame, London has inspired these fictional places which have become completely entrenched in public imagination. With a heritage like this, there is no doubt that London can easily inspire authors with its literary settings and history.

2. Strong literary culture

English literature has travelled to all corners of the world and is enjoyed by people in many countries, even where English is not a primary language. The prevalence of English as a global language has helped foster a strong literary culture. In London, this is evidenced by numerous literary clubs (such as Author’s Club), book clubs, public libraries and research resources, all of which are a great help to a budding author. With such great resources at such close proximity, London is an inspiring place for authors.

3. Book awards

Britain hosts numerous book awards, many of which are based in London. The Man Booker Prize, Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Folio Prize, the Costa Book Award, The Somerset Maugham Awards, BBC National Short Story Awards, and many others are based out of the city. Giving away prizes of anywhere from £5,000 to £60,000, it’s an enormous inspiration for authors to write well and court fame and money.

4. Environmental setting

The city is a microcosm of an entire world, with different environments side by side. You don’t have to go far to find a nice setting for your book. Whether your book is being based on the hallowed corridors of power or the poorer neighbourhoods, you will have no trouble researching it in London. Residential or commercial, fully built-up areas or pockets of greenery, tall modern buildings or charming houses, the city can provide all kinds of settings for your story.

5. Literary workshops

London, being the capital, has a large number of workshops of which authors can take advantage. Generally undertaken by published authors, these workshops help the author develop their creative skills. There are also institutes and organisations giving creative writing courses. Some of the institutes have even hooked up with universities around the country to provide a more focused environment for budding writers.

6. London pubs

London pubs have a strong place in its literary history. Pubs like Prospect of Whitby, The Black Horse, Fitzrovia and Coach and Horses have been catering to the literati for decades, if not centuries. They make an admirable place for modern writers to sit and work with the inspiration of many famous authors around them.

7. Comfortable lifestyle

From a purely aesthetic or creative angle, a comfortable lifestyle might not amount to much, but living in London will make life easier for you in the long run. If you are not a full time writer, then you can find jobs easily in the city, which is still the largest employer in the UK. Everything is nearby at a hand’s reach; whether you want a garage to service your car or a supermarket to do the week’s shopping. This leaves more time to work on your writing, while at the same time, ensuring the practical realities of your day to day life is being handled too.

Image credit: Natesh Ramasamy on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Kavitha is a freelance content writer and French translator, and has been working in this field since 2008. She has degrees in computer applications and international business and has a background in business and international trade. She enjoys learning languages and is currently learning Japanese. Her interests vary from books and writing to travelling and history.


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