Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Crime Short Story Competition

In Events on January 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Have you got what it takes to be the next Stieg Larsson or Henning Mankell?

Enter Brent Libraries short story competition and have the chance to win a place on a creative writing course at Birkbeck, University of London or a book token from the Willesden Green Book Shop.

Birkbeck Short Story Competition

Birkbeck Short Story Competition

Swedish crime fiction author Camilla Ceder has written the opening lines to a story. All you have to do is to complete the story in no more than 2000 words. Please note that entries must be typed, hand-written entries will not be considered.

The competition runs from Monday 24 January. Please pick up an entry from any Brent Library or request an electronic version from The closing date is Wednesday 23 February 2011.

Need help with writing short stories?

Birkbeck, University of London is running a free workshop on how to get started with fiction at Willesden Green Library Centre on Tuesday 15 February, 6–7.30pm. Julia Bell, novelist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, will provide you with exercises and extracts to fire your imagination and give you a preview of the kind of courses on offer at Birkbeck.

Want to find out more about Creative Writing at Birkbeck? You can also visit the new Writers Hub website at for hints and tips to help improve your work.

Birkbeck will also have an information stand at Willesden Green Library Center on the 8 February 4–7pm for you to speak to an adviser about the courses on offer.

Virtual Book Group launch!

In Reading Groups on January 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Brent’s first ever ‘virtual’ book group launches here on February 1st where the discussion all happens online.

You don’t even have to set foot out of the house on a wintry night or battle with your brolly to make it down to the library. You can tell us what you think of our chosen books and engage with other readers online.

With our virtual book club, there are no set meeting times, so you determine your reading pace. All you have to do is check this site to see what book we are reading and then borrow the book from any Brent Library. Reservations on our book of the month will be free. You can add your comments on the blog as you progress throught the book and take part in discussions with other readers online.

To celebrate Valentines Day our chosen book for February is David Nicholls’ One Day. An amazing romantic read and best seller. It describes a day in July when Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. The book follows them on this one day next year. And the year after that. And every year that follows. The Times describe it as a ‘cancel all calls’, ‘leave me alone’ book. We just hope that you can tear yourselves away to take part in the online discussion! Reserve your copy today.

So as not give away any of the plot and to give you time to read the book, the chat will take place the last week of February…

Forthcoming titles for Book of the Month:

March: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Half a yellow sun

April: Gonzo A | Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson an Oral Biography

May: Stephen King | The Gunslinger

June: Dave Boling | Guernica

July: Orange Prize winning Author Tea Obreht | The Tiger’s Wife

August: Danny Wallace | Friends like these

September: Banned Books promotion tbc

October: tbc

November: tbc

December: tbc

Friends Reunited

In Events on January 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

We are very excited to have Monica Porter speak at Willesden Green Library.  Monica will be speaking about her book LONG LOST The Story of the Newspaper Column that Started the Reunion Industry.                                           

Monica Porter’s weekly Missing and Found column has been running in the Daily Mail since June 1999, featuring the tales of people who are searching for their long lost friends and family members. Schoolmates and childhood pals, wartime comrades and evacuees, birth parents and estranged siblings, former colleagues, old flames, fellow members of Swinging Sixties pop groups and of scout troops. All of life is there – the light-hearted and the poignant, and often the strikingly evocative. Over the years the column has reunited many hundreds of people. And it was ahead of its time, a forerunner to ventures such as the Friends Reunited website (launched in 2000). Today there are many internet sites, as well as print outlets, which aim to bring the ‘long lost’ back together. But Missing and Found has a quality which makes it especially appealing to its readers: many of its stories tap into our national social and cultural memory, they are concerned not only with the individuals named in them, but with our common past. This, perhaps, is the underlying reason for its popularity.

As well as reprising a selection of the column’s most colourful reunion tales,  Long Lost tells the story behind the groundbreaking newspaper column – how it was inspired by the experience of an ordinary couple from the provinces, Gill and John Whitley, who traced John’s mother after 34 years. The emotional reunion changed their lives and led them to set up a voluntary service helping others achieve the same. They became the column’s behind-the-scenes ‘people finders’.

In Long Lost Gill Whitley tells the author how her tracing methods have evolved, with electronic databases and online resources largely replacing old-fashioned ‘detective work’. She provides an easy guide on how to find a person yourself, as well as valuable advice on when it is wiser not to search for someone. Missing and Found stemmed from an idea proposed by no less than Sir David English himself, while Editor-in-Chief of Associated Newspapers. Which makes the column – and now this book – one of the illustrious Fleet Street editor’s enduring legacies.

 Monica Porter has been a London-based journalist since the 1970s and her work has appeared in most quality Fleet Street newspapers, as well as numerous magazines. Long Lost is her fourth book.

Meet Monica on Thursday 27 January at 7pm

Venue Willesden Green Library Centre

This is a free event

Copies of the book will be available to buy or to borrow

Books to make you healthy, wealthy and wise in 2011

In Miscellaneous on January 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm

My New Years resoultion is to read more. Not only to read more but to read new things. Penguin has chosen 52 books to get us excited about reading. Not only that but the books are guaranteed to trim your waistline, increase your bank balance and boost your IQ.

So this month I am taking their advice and borrowing:

  1. Lloyd Bradleys Rough Guide to Men’s Health (to make me healthy)
  2. 23 Things they don’t tell you about capitalism (not sure how this will help my overdraft mind)
  3. Tariq Ramadans The Quest for Meaning (To make me wise beyond my years and wildest dreams!)

Borrow yours today. By the time you have finished reading you will certainly feel healthier and richer as you won’t have much time for much else!

Costa Book Awards Announced

In Miscellaneous on January 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Costa has announced the Costa Book Awards 2010 winners in the Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book categories. We are fans of the fiction winners.

  • Novelist and former journalist, Maggie O’Farrell, who wins her first major literary prize with her fifth novel, The Hand That First Held Mine
  • Kishwar Desai who takes the First Novel Award for Witness the Night, which explores India’s hidden female infanticide and the first book of a series featuring the unconventional female protagonist, Simran Singh. Desai’s book is amazing.  Discover what happens when a  young girl is found in an Indian town house, tied to a bed and surrounded by 13 dead bodies. What happens next when she is thrown into prison on suspicion of murder? You have got to read this book!

Quick reserve your copies today – these will be flying off the shelves like hot cakes!