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London's low life celebrated at lit festival in East End libraries

PUBLISHED: 18:00 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:19 05 October 2010

Dan Cruickshank will talk about London's murky past

Dan Cruickshank will talk about London's murky past

THERE S a  historical theme to the first book festival hosted by libraries in Tower Hamlets this month. The festival starts on Friday at Bethnal Green library It covers forgotten tales of  London s low life, to the fog of war as journalist exposed the con

THERE'S a historical theme to the first book festival hosted by libraries in Tower Hamlets this month.

The festival starts on Friday at Bethnal Green library It covers forgotten tales of London's low life, to the fog of war as journalist exposed the conditions endured by soldiers during the Crimean War and prostitution in Georgian London.

The week-long festival has attracted authors of weighty tomes including Spitalfields resident Dan Cruickshank who will shine a light on the murky world of prostitution in the capital, including notorious brothels in Whitechapel and the moralistic Tower Hamlets Society for the Suppression of Bawdy Houses and Reformation of Manners on Thursday December 10. Tim Coates, the former boss of bookselling giant Waterstones is due to speak on Tuesday about his book Delane's War chronicles the Crimean War, which was perhaps the last conflict before reporters became censored by the state.

Both writers will be entertaining bookworms at the Idea Store in Whitechapel but the festival starts at Bethnal Green library tomorrow at 7pm (Fri Dec 4).

Publisher Martin Knight will be discussing three authors from the 1930s whose novels were made into films although the books themselves are largely forgotten now.

Mr Knight said: "The books Wide Boys Never Work by Robert Westerby, They Drive By Night by James Curtis and Night and The City by Gerald Kersh were smash hits at the time. Night and The City starring Richard Widmark as Harry Fabian is considered a classic in the "noir" genre."

Manzu Islam will take readers on an exploration of Banglatown in East London and Bangladesh as he talks about his 1997 collection of seven short stories The Mapmakers of Spitalfields at the Whitechapel Idea Store at 1pm on Saturday.

On Monday John Bennett will give an illustrated talk about Whitechapel and Spitalfields and crime writer John Harvey will talk about the murky world inhabited by his characters Charlie Resnick and Frank Elder.

East London writer and Docklands columnist Kia Abdullah will round off the festival at Whitechapel Idea Store on Saturday December 12 when she talks about her novel Child's Play which looks at some of the darker recesses of the mind.

*A full programme of events is available at libraries in Tower Hamlets.


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