London has arguably the biggest back catalogue of world-class literature on the planet. From Chaucer to Dickens to TS Eliot, the city’s scribes have introduced the world to London and seduced millions of literary pilgrims to come to the capital in search of stories. In the words of Lawrence Manley, editor of the new and wonderful ‘The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of London’ out today: ‘the London that is imagined through literary representation…is inseparable from the London that shapes imagination’. In short, we live in this city in a bookish way, haunted, seduced or cheered up by the characters we’ve met in novels, poems, plays and non-fiction – and when we walk around Bloomsbury or up Fleet Street we do so with Virginia Woolf and George Gissing. The Cambridge Companion, which contains contributions from leading academics, is a great one-stop shop for those who want to learn about London’s writing and is especially valuable for those keen to get beyond recent fiction – Amis, Ballard, Self et al – and explore the amazing literary heritage of this great city.
We have 5 copies to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, email your favourite London book (with reasons) to Time Out Books Editor Chris Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. The best 5 submissions will be sent copies of the book and published on the Time Out blog. For literary events, see timeout.com/books.