Timeline Shows Ealing Borough's Rich Literary Heritage

Diverse authors such as Henry Fielding to Phoebe Waller-Bridge feature

Nearly 200 authors with connections to the borough of Ealing have been identified for a timeline of writers and books.

The scale of the area’s literary heritage has been revealed by work by researchers for the Chiswick Book Festival.

The writers range from Henry Fielding, born in 1707, to Honor Blackman (1925) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (1985) – and include such diverse names as Agatha Christie, Ho Chi Minh and EL James.

The names were compiled by Roger Green, the Chiswick Book Festival’s Ealing co-ordinator, with the help of The Pitshanger Bookshop and Ealing Borough archivist and author Jonathan Oates.

The timeline of Ealing writers can be seen here. It includes writers of plays, films and music, and lists them by subject area.

“A year ago, the Observer wrote that ‘Chiswick may be Britain’s most literary location’ after we listed 250 authors on the Chiswick Timeline of Writers and Books” said Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival. “We issued a challenge to other book festivals, libraries and local history societies to come up with their own lists of writers – and we’ve discovered that our neighbouring borough of Ealing is close behind.”

The launch of the Ealing Timeline of Writers and Books was inspired by a tweet from museums consultant Val Bott, chairman of the William Hogarth Trust, which supports Hogarth’s House in Chiswick. She tweeted: “Can other suburbs besides #Chiswick demonstrate this degree of #literarycreativity? Still finding more writers & you can help too: check the current list & send in missing names!”

The Festival undertook the research to mark its closer links with Ealing, after holding its first event there at Gunnersbury Park and Museum, the museum for Ealing and Hounslow.

This year, subject to Covid-19 restrictions, more Ealing events are planned, including one that ties in with the major Hogarth exhibition scheduled at Pitzhanger Manor. The Chiswick Book Festival was started after the closure of the Ealing Literary Festival, and significant parts of Chiswick W4 lie within Ealing borough.

This week has also seen more names added to the Chiswick Timeline of Writers and Books, bringing its total to 425.

These are now included on the two main listings pages – Non-fiction and Novels, poems and plays.

Torin added: “We’re keen to hear of any Ealing authors we’ve missed so we can be sure to give Ealing its full literary due – alongside that of Chiswick. And now that people are living online, we think the lockdown is the perfect time to explore the stories and literary heritage revealed on our Timelines.”

Planning is continuing for the 12th Chiswick Book Festival, from 10-14 September 2020, subject to Government restrictions. In the past 10 years, it’s raised over £78,000 for reading charities and St Michael & All Angels Church which hosts, runs and underwrites the Festival.


May 6, 2020