Read Along - Library @Deptford Lounge

We started off the events for the 8th Annual Cityread in the Library at Deptford Lounge. 

Cityread takes place during the month of May and its aim is to get the capital reading. We celebrate every year with different events and workshops inspired by the selected book for that year. The book for this year is Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Aisha Malik.

Billed as the Muslim Bridget Jones, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged is the hilarious romantic comedy from, Aisha Malik , the writer behind Nadiya Hussain’s bestselling The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters. Sofia Khan is single once more, after her sort-of-boyfriend proves just a little too close to his parents. And she’d be happy that way too, if her boss hadn’t asked her to write a book about the weird and wonderful world of Muslim dating. Of course, even though she definitely isn’t looking for love, to write the book she does need to do a little research . . .


Read Along Event in the Library @ Deptford Lounge

The Read Along event featured local writers groups: Torridon Writers Group, Lewisham Multicultural Group, Corbett Library Book Club as well as some very talented young people from Deptford.

We had 50 copies of the book, Sophia Khan Is Not Amused to give away.
The local groups performed excellent spoken word pieces and read their favourite passages from their books.


The event started at 6.00pm in the main foyer area of Deptford Lounge. To start the discussion, delegates were encouraged to talk about books that inspired them and their favourite authors.

The line up was as follows
  • Sophie Harriot - [Deptford Library] Reading from St Benedict's Toolbox
  • Joy Swaby - [Torridon Writers Group]
  • Ottis Edwards - ([Torridon Writers Group] and [Corbett Library Book Club])
  • Joy Swaby - [Torridon Writers Group]
  • Lisa Haight- [Corbett Community Library Book Club]
  • Marilyn - [Lewisham Multicultural Writers Group]
  • Lilian Brath - [Torridon Writers Group]
  • Josephine Grant -[Deptford Library]
    Reading from The Travelling Cat Chronicles 
Open Mic Session
  • Enomwoyi Damali - [Leader of Lewisham Multicultural Writers Group]
  • Marilyn - [Lewisham Multicultural Group]
  • Sadie Daley -  [Corbett Community  Library Book Club ]
  • Brenda - [Torridon Writers Group]
  • Lilian Brath - [Torridon Writers Group]
  • Charmaine - Local Resident


We also launched City Read for the staff in Lawrence House. Library staff gave out copies of Sophia Kahn Is Not Obliged and also invited people to make create their own Zen Doodles inspired by Islamic Art


Suggested Reading

Our reading list is inspired by the Read along event. You can find these in our eLibrary apps.


The One Who Wrote Destiny
by Nikesh Shukla, 2018.

Mukesh has just moved from Kenya to the drizzly northern town of Keighley. He was expecting fame, fortune, the Rolling Stones and a nice girl, not poverty, loneliness and racism. Still, he might not have found Keith Richards, but he did find the girl. Neha is dying. Lung cancer, a genetic gift from her mother and an invocation to forge a better relationship with her brother and her widowed father before it's too late. The problem is, her brother is an unfunny comedian and her idiot father is a first-generation immigrant who moved to Keighley of all places. Rakesh is grieving. He lost his mother and his sister to the same illness, and his career as a comedian is flat-lining. Sure, his sister would have claimed that it was because he was simply unfunny, but he can't help feel that there is more to it than that - more to do with who he is and where he comes from rather than the content of his jokes.


The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Hiro Arikawa,2018.

It's not the journey that counts, but who's at your side.Nana is on a road trip, but he is not sure where he is going. All that matters is that he can sit beside his beloved owner Satoru in the front seat of his silver van. Satoru is keen to visit three old friends from his youth, though Nana doesn't know why and Satoru won't say. Set against the backdrop of Japan's changing seasons and narrated with a rare gentleness and humour, Nana's story explores the wonder and thrill of life's unexpected detours. It is about the value of friendship and solitude, and knowing when to give and when to take. TRAVELLING CAT has already demonstrated its power to move thousands with a message of kindness and truth. It shows, above all, how acts of love, both great and small, can transform our lives.

A WATERSONES PAPERBACK OF THE YEAR 2017'Bewitching. as self-possessed and comforting as - well, a cat' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH'A delightful tale of loyalty and friendship' JOHN BOYNE, IRISH TIMES


On Race, Identity and Belonging
by Afua Hirsch, 2018.

You're British.
Your parents are British.
Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British.
So why do people keep asking where you're from?
We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch's personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be - and an urgent call for change


The Lonely Londoners
by Sam Selvon,2014.

Both devastating and funny, The Lonely Londoners is an unforgettable account of immigrant experience - and one of the great twentieth-century London novels. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Susheila Nasta.

At Waterloo Station, hopeful new arrivals from the West Indies step off the boat train, ready to start afresh in 1950s London. There, homesick Moses Aloetta, who has already lived in the city for years, meets Henry 'Sir Galahad' Oliver and shows him the ropes. In this strange, cold and foggy city where the natives can be less than friendly at the sight of a black face, has Galahad met his Waterloo? But the irrepressible newcomer cannot be cast down. He and all the other lonely new Londoners - from shiftless Cap to Tolroy, whose family has descended on him from Jamaica - must try to create a new life for themselves. As pessimistic 'old veteran' Moses watches their attempts, they gradually learn to survive and come to love the heady excitements of London.

Sam Selvon (b. 1923) was born in San Fernando, Trinidad. In 1950 Selvon left Trinidad for the UK where after hard times of survival he established himself as a writer with A Brighter Sun (1952), An Island is a World (1955), The Lonely Londoners (1956), Ways of Sunlight (1957), Turn Again Tiger (1958), I Hear Thunder (1963), The Housing Lark (1965), The Plains of Caroni (1970), Moses Ascending (1975) and Moses Migrating (1983).


Craig Taylor, 2013.

Here are the voices of London, rich and poor, native and immigrant, women and men, witnessed by Craig Taylor, an

Five years in the making, Londoners is a fresh and compulsively readable view of one of the world's most fascinating cities a vibrant narrative portrait of the London of our own time, featuring unforgettable stories told by the real people who make the city hum. acclaimed Canadian journalist, playwright and writer, who has lived in the city for ten years, Craig Taylor has spent years traversing every corner of the city, getting to know the most interesting Londoners, including the voice of the London Underground, a West End rickshaw driver, an East End nightclub doorperson, a mounted soldier of the Queen's Life Guard at Buckingham Palace, and a couple who fell in love at the Tower of London and now live there. With candour and humour, this diverse cast rich and poor, old and young, native and immigrant, men and women (and even a Sarah who used to be a George)shares indelible tales that capture the city as never before. Together, these voices paint a vivid, epic, and wholly original portrait of twenty-first-century London in all its breadth, from Notting Hill to Brixton, from Piccadilly Circus to Canary Wharf, from an airliner flying into London Heathrow Airport to Big Ben and Tower Bridge, and down to the deepest tunnels of the London Underground. Londoners is the autobiography of one of the world's greatest cities.


Sophia Khan is not obliged
by Ayisha Malik, 2015.
Overdrive EBook

Unlucky in love once again after her sort-of-boyfriend proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene. As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she seeks stories for her book. But in amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and polygamy-inclined friends, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love?


The Forgiveness Project
Stories for a Vengeful Age
by Marina Cantacuzino ,2015.

What is forgiveness?
Are some acts unforgivable?

Can forgiveness take the place of revenge?

Powerful real-life stories from survivors and perpetrators of crime and violence reveal the true impact of forgiveness on ordinary people worldwide. Exploring forgiveness as an alternative to resentment or retaliation, the storytellers give an honest, moving account of their experiences and what part forgiveness has played in their lives. Despite extreme circumstances, their stories open the door to a society without revenge.


Hard Times Require Furious Dancing
New Poems
by Alice Walker, 2013.

Alice Walker is beloved for her ability to speak her own truth in ways that speak for and about countless others. Here she confronts personal and collective challenges in words that dance, sing, and heal. As Shiloh McCloud describes in her foreword, Walker's poems contain "the death of loved ones and the birth of new ideas, the sorrow of rejection and the deliciousness of love, the sweetness of home, familial abandonment, and what it means to belong to the greater world family."As Walker writes in her preface, the "empty" half of a glass holds "a rainbow that could exist only in the vacant space." Musing on the role of dance, which gives this collection its title, she writes, "though we have encountered our share of grief and troubles on this earth, we can still hold the line of beauty, form, and beat. No small accomplishment in a world as challenging as this one."


On Balance
by Sinead Morrissey, 2017.

Winner of the 2017 Forward Prize for Best Collection.
Winner of the 2017 Poetry Book Society Choice Award.

Set against a backdrop of ecological and economic instability, Sinéad Morrissey's sixth collection, On Balance, revisits some of the great feats of human engineering to reveal the states of balance and inbalance that have shaped our history. The poems also address gender inequality and our inharmonious relationship with the natural world. A poem on Lilian Bland - the first woman to design, build and fly her own aeroplane - celebrates the audacity and ingenuity of a great Irish heroine. Elsewhere, explorers in Greenland set foot on a fjord system accessible to Europeans for the first time in millennia as a result of global warming. But if life is fragile then its traces are persistent, insistent, and in "Articulation" we are invited to stop and wonder at the reconstructed skeleton of Napoleon's horse, Marengo, "whose very hooves trod mud at Austerlitz", suspended in time "for however long he lasts before he crumbles"


Julian of Norwich
by Janina Ramirez, 2016.

Over six hundred years ago a woman known as Julian of Norwich wrote what is now regarded as one of the greatest works of literature in English. Based on a sequence of mystical visions she received in 1373, her book is called Revelations of Divine Love. Julian lived through an age of political and religious turmoil, as well as through the misery of the Black Death, and her writing engages with timeless questions about life, love and the meaning of suffering. But who was Julian of Norwich? And what can she teach us today? Medievalist and TV historian Janina Ramirez invites you to join her in exploring Julian's remarkable life and times, offering insights into how and why her writing has survived, and what we can learn from this fourteenth-century mystic whose work lay hidden in the shadows of her male contemporaries for far too long

The Darkening Age
The Christian Destruction of the Classical World
by Catherine Nixey, 2017.

In The Darkening Age, Catherine Nixey tells the little-known - and deeply shocking - story of how a militant religion deliberately tried to extinguish the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in unquestioning adherence to the 'one true faith'.

The Roman Empire had been generous in embracing and absorbing new creeds. But with the coming of Christianity, everything changed. This new faith, despite preaching peace, was violent, ruthless and intolerant. And once it became the religion of empire, its zealous adherents set about the destruction of the old gods. Their altars were upturned, their temples demolished and their statues hacked to pieces. Books, including great works of philosophy and science, were consigned to the pyre. It was an annihilation.


The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
Kei Miller, 2015.

In his new collection, acclaimed Jamaican poet Kei Miller dramatises what happens when one system of knowledge, one method of understanding place and territory, comes up against another. We watch as the cartographer, used to the scientific methods of assuming control over a place by mapping it ( I never get involved / with the muddy affairs of land'), is gradually compelled to recognise - even to envy - a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman's eternal city of Zion. As the book unfolds the cartographer learns that, on this island of roads that constrict like throats', every place-name comes freighted with history, and not every place that can be named can be found.


Of Love And Desire
Louis de Bernières, 2017.

Of Love and Desire is a rich collection of love poems from Louis de Bernières, written over a lifetime, and capturing its many forms - from rapture, infatuation, urgency, to sorrow, heartache and disillusion.

Poetry was de Bernières' first and greatest literary love, a passion evident in the musicality and emotion of his poems, which are full of stories and the truth of lived experience. This, his second collection, bears the mark of many influences, from the classical Persian poets, to Neruda, to Quintus Smyrnaeus, to Brian Patten.

Beautifully illustrated by Donald Sammut, this is an indispensable companion on the lover's journey.


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