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Borough book-lovers prepare for celebration of reading

If you relish reading, love the library or crave culture then next month’s Cityread London could be right up your street.

Cityread is a month-long event that celebrates reading for pleasure, engages new library users and encourages people to explore and celebrate the capital’s culture, landscape and history.

And Waltham Forest will be joining in with Cityread by hosting a variety of events including a ‘literary cruise along the Thames’, family art workshops, a social night for book-lovers and a one-off talk from the author at the heart of this Year’s Cityread, Ben Aaronovitch.

Aaronovitch’s urban fantasy/crime fiction book, Rivers of London, has been chosen as the focus of Cityread London’s 2015 campaign. To mark this, Waltham Forest Council’s libraries team is offering free copies of the book to reading groups based in the borough – and anyone who signs up to take part in an ad-hoc reading group on 28 April can also pick up a free copy of Rivers of London from Leyton or Walthamstow libraries.

Cllr Ahsan Khan, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a good book and events like this represent a fantastic opportunity for book-lovers to share their passion with others and encourage more people to discover the joy of reading.

“Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly activity, interested in learning about literary history or wanting to meet new people while discussing your favourite book, the events we’re planning here in Waltham Forest will offer something for everyone.”

Aaronovitch said: “As a native Londoner it's hard to imagine a more exciting honour than having my book selected to be the London Cityread for 2015. Added to that is the sheer pleasure of working with and helping support the public libraries of London.

“My love of reading began in my local library and I frequently find myself drawn into the many fabulous local history libraries when researching my books - they are a resource beyond price and their contribution to the intellectual and cultural capital of London is beyond measure. If I have one hope for Cityread 2015 it is that many other people, young, old and those travelling in between, who have yet to fall in love with books will find that same first love.”

The events planned for Waltham Forest are:

  • An Audience with Ben Aaronovitch, supported by E17 Puppet Project, on Friday 10 April from 6.30-9pm at Walthamstow Library.

  • Art Smart: Rivers (media workshops for ages seven to 11) on Friday 17 April from 11am-12.30pm at Wood Street Library and from 2-3.30pm at Hale End Library.

  • A Literary Cruise along the Thames (a virtual cruise exploring the river’s literary links) on Wednesday 22 April from 7-9pm at North Chingford Library.

  • Family Day: London’s Mighty River (art workshop) on Saturday 25 April from 1-4pm at the William Morris Gallery, in Forest Road, Walthamstow.

  • Rivers of London with the Ad hoc Reading Group – a Cityread London Special. This will be a get-together for all Waltham Forest Reading Groups on Tuesday 28 April from 7-8pm at Leyton Library.

All of the events are free-to-attend. For more information visit

If you run a reading group in Waltham Forest and would like to request free copies of Rivers of London, email by Wednesday 1 April.

To learn more about Cityread London, which is created and delivered by Stellar Libraries CIC and supported and funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, visit

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