East End author Jean Fullerton will visit Watney Market library as highlight of National Storytelling Week

The visit of an East End expert will be the highlight of National Storytelling Week, while there will also be storytelling sessions for young children.

On Monday, a historical author who knows more about the East End than most will share her knowledge and swap stories at Watney Market library.

Jean Fullerton, 55, the author of three popular historical romances set in east London, will visit the library just a stone’s throw from her childhood home.

She hopes that her audience will have as many stories to share as she does after an eye-opening visit to the library at the end of last year.

Jean, who lives in Stratford and who grew up in Anthony Street, where you now find Mulberry School for Girls, said: “I had such a good time before.

“The real joy for me was meeting people who knew my family.

“I thought I could come back and we could share more stories.”

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Jean started writing in 2002 as a way to relieve stress but despite growing up in the area, being a pupil at Sir John Cass School and getting married at St Dunstan and All Saints church in Stepney, it took a while for the East End to start seeping into Jean’s words.

She said: “After a while, they say write about what you know and it seemed sensible to capture some of the richness of the area.

“Readers love the authentic detail.”

Visitors on Monday night will hear about the locations which form the backdrops to Jean’s books, with Watney Street, its market and the River Thames featuring heavily.

In her second book, A Glimpse at Happiness, her hero Patrick keeps a barge boat on the Thames – her latest, Perhaps Tomorrow, out on Thursday, focuses on a woman struggling to keep her family’s coal business in Cannon Street Road afloat.

She said: “I read about the poor housing in the 19th century and I thought, that would have been the same for my family.

“My books are a celebration of the women who struggled to raise families, in the days before you had inoculations and antibiotics.”

The storytelling visit, designed for 18-year-olds and over, is from 6.30pm to 8pm.

Idea Stores throughout the borough will also be holding special storytelling sessions for children this weekend and throughout next week.

For further information, visit ideastore.co.uk.

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