The London Library welcomes participants onto its Emerging Writers Programme

At a reception held on Thursday 2 May in The London Library’s historic Reading Room, a range of well-known writers and figures from the literary world were on hand to welcome the 38 successful writers who have been selected to participate in the Library’s newly-launched Emerging Writers Programme for unpublished writers.

EWP smaller

The group of Emerging Writers include performance poet Anna Kahn, Mónica Parle - former Executive Director of First Story and Swithun Cooper who works in the British Council’s Literature Library.

Of the 38 writers selected, 6 are poets, 5 write for screen or stage, 5 are planning non-fiction books and the rest are planning to write fiction. 13 of the writers are under 28.

Projects underway already are diverse and varied in genre, setting and topic from present-day Siberia to wartime Ukraine to Colonial India, Antarctic exploration to Mayan folklore, activism, taxidermy, the joys of clubbing, the care system and even an imaginary rodent underworld.

Chair of judges Daisy Goodwin comments: “I’m delighted to have been a judge for this scheme - the number of entries and the quality of work show there is a real need for places where emerging talents can find the space to produce their best work surrounded by like minded souls. The London Library won’t make you into a great writer but it certainly helps. I couldn’t imagine my writing life without it!”

Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library, comments: “We are thrilled to have had such an enthusiastic response to our inaugural Emerging Writers Programme and to be able to engage with such a talented and diverse group of participants in the early part of their writing careers. For nearly 180 years, the Library has been a great source of inspiration and support to writers of all different kinds and we look forward to seeing how this wonderful group of new writers will use the Programme to develop their respective projects.”

The candidates were chosen from a field of over 600 applicants by a panel of judges chaired by screenwriter Daisy Goodwin, novelist Nikita Lalwani, poet Raymond Antrobus, Director of AM Heath Bill Hamilton and Head of Prizes and Awards at the Society of Authors Paula Johnson.

The Library’s Emerging Writers Programme is geared towards supporting writers at the start of their careers and helping develop their work. Participants will benefit from one year’s free membership of The London Library (which normally costs £510 per annum) alongside a programme of writing development and networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources.

During the year they will get free access to the Library’s unique collection which includes over one million books and over 2,500 periodicals titles that can all be borrowed. Membership also includes access to extensive online resources and dedicated writing and research spaces in the Library’s extraordinary building in central London.

The Emerging Writers Programme has been established with the help of Library supporters including AM Heath, The Garrick Charitable Trust and the Julio Nunez Memorial Trust.

View the full list of successful candidates



On 9th April 2019, The London Library had the privilege of hosting a special reception to mark the latest chapter in the journey of a rare Czech Torah scroll, created in 1898 and a remarkable survivor from the darkest days of World War II.

The Library has been looking after the scroll for the past 40 years and is now handing it into the care of the Memorial Scrolls Trust who have been central to safeguarding over 1,500 Czech scrolls seized by the Nazis and eventually rescued by leading members of the UK Jewish community.

The scroll in the Library’s care is a sacred relic from the Jewish community of Domažlice in Czechoslovakia, which was eradicated by the Nazis. The Domažlice Synagogue was destroyed but many of its documents and ritual objects survived - as was the case with many other objects of worship from other desolated Jewish communities across Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia.

Somehow Jewish leaders in Prague managed to persuade the Nazis to gather these items together in the capital’s Central Jewish Museum (itself an extraordinary survival throughout the war). After the war they largely remained there as repression continued under the post-war communist regime.

In 1964 the London art dealer, Eric Estorick, with the financial support of Ralph Yablon, negotiated with the Czech Communist regime to purchase these 1,564 Torah Scrolls with the purpose of restoring them to Jewish communities abroad. The scrolls arrived in London and were taken in by the Westminster Synagogue; a Memorial Scrolls Committee (later Memorial Scrolls Trust) was formed to oversee their safekeeping and a number are now housed in their Czech Scrolls Museum in Knightsbridge; others have been returned to diaspora communities linked to their original Czech communities.

Sadly, no such community exists for the Domažlice scroll (Czech Torah Scroll no. 614), which was entrusted into the safe-keeping of The London Library in 1979, through the auspices of the London Library’s Treasurer Lewis Golden - a prominent member of the Westminster Synagogue.

In recent years, the Library has worked with the Memorial Scrolls Trust to enable this scroll to join the collection in their Knightsbridge Museum, where its own history can be properly linked with that of the many hundreds of scrolls that are catalogued, conserved and displayed there.

Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library commented: “We are very proud to have played a part in the safe-keeping of this rare scroll and delighted to be able to place it into the safe keeping of the Memorial Scrolls Trust who have done so much to make the history of these extraordinary relics a living one.”

Jeffrey Ohrenstein, Chairman of the Memorial Scrolls Trust added, “Torah which binds all Jews together, is also the Pentateuch revered by Christianity and Al Tarwat (the Five Books of Musa) revered by Islam. The Memorial Scrolls Trust hopes our scrolls are used to remind people of what they have in common, rather than of what divides them”.

Torah 3

New Online Resources Now Available!

We are excited to be adding the British Newspaper Archive & Early English Books Online to the already extensive collection of e-resources that come as part of London Library membership.

The British Newspaper Archive

The BNA is a partnership between the British Library and Findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's collection, which contains most of the runs of newspapers published in the UK since 1800.

The project has been scanning millions of pages of historical newspapers and making them available online. The resulting digital archive currently contains around three million pages of newspaper content and allows you to search hundreds of millions of articles by keyword, name, location, date or title.

SQuid on EEBO cropped

Early English Books Online

EEBO is a full-text database containing digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America, plus works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700 - from the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War. The collection covers over 130,000 titles and contains more than 17 million digitally scanned pages. 

The EEBO project is currently scanning 100,000 more pages to add to this collection. 

The new services add to the extensive range of online resources that come with London Library membership. The Library already subscribes to over 300 online versions of the journals it offers in print form and thousands more periodicals are available online through the archive services that we provide free to Library members, such as JSTOR and Cambridge Humanities Journals. For further details of the extensive range of periodicals and databases that can be accessed on-line see our eJournals pages.

Accessing the new services

EEBO and much of the content of our eJournals is directly searchable through the Library’s online catalogue service CATALYST.

Access to the BNA is through the link on our eLibrary page. In addition to being signed in on the Library’s homepage you will need to register separately on the BNA website in order to view your search results. On your first visit, simply click on the Register button on the menu bar at the top of the screen, fill in your name and email address and choose a password.  You will receive an email to confirm that the registration process is complete. On subsequent visits you will need to use the email address and password you chose to sign in to view your search results. Please note that The London Library will not be able to reset your password for this site should you forget it!

Art Historian and London Library Vice-President

We were saddened to hear of the death on 12 March of Sir John Richardson, celebrated art historian and a Vice-President of The London Library since 2014.

During his long life (he died, aged 95 on the 12 March 2019) he became celebrated as a leading authority on Pablo Picasso and the avant-garde. The first volume of his acclaimed biography of Picasso was published in 1991 and won the Whitbread Book of the Year award. Two further volumes were published in 1996 and 2007 respectively. The fourth was still in progress when Sir John died.

His two volume memoir The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1999) and Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters (2001) recorded his life with the art critic Douglas Cooper, and the many connections Richardson developed with the avant-garde in the south of France after the Second World War and then with a range of artists and contacts in the art world in Britain and the US.

In 1994, he presented Richardson on Picasso, a BBC series of half-hour programmes related to the Tate’s Picasso exhibition. He presented a Channel 4 Picasso series in 2001, and contributed to a range of TV programmes about Picasso and other artists.

In the post-Cooper years (the pair separated in 1958), Richardson lived in New York where he had access to most of the big American collectors, worked for the American office of Christie’s and contributed to a range of journals including the New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair and Burlington Magazine. From 2008 he also worked as a consultant to the Gagosian Gallery in New York, where he organised six Picasso exhibitions, the last of which took place in 2017.

He was knighted in 2012 and in 2013 The London Library awarded him their Life in Literature Award. In 2014 he became a Vice-President of the Library, a position he held for the rest of his life.