Willesden Jewish Cemetery hosts virtual life stories literary week

Willesden Jewish Cemetery hosts virtual life stories literary week

Dubbed as the "first literary gathering ever convened by a cemetery", Willesden Jewish Cemetery is to launch a week-long virtual event to showcase the "different aspects and forms of life" that are connected to the location.

The event comes as the cemetery prepares to reopen following a £1.7m conservation project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Running from 7th–13th September, Life Lines will see five author discussions celebrate and explore the biographies of well-known figures buried at the cemetery, in addition to examining obituaries, eulogies and epitaphs. Writers including Sally Bayley, Howard Jacobson, Guy Gunaratne, Gabriel Krauze and Anne Sebba have been confirmed for the panel events, which are free.

Writing workshops, priced at £15, will be hosted by Ayisha Malik, author and former managing editor at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, and memoir-writing specialist Paul Dodgson. The workshops are aimed at developing opportunities for unpublished writers, and will be hosted via Zoom. 

Hester Abrams, project leader at Willesden Cemetery, and former director of Jewish Book Week, is curating the Life Lines event. She is also heading up the House of Life initiative, which seeks to "welcome more people from all backgrounds to remember and connect with a unique part of London's heritage" through a new cultural programme, of which Life Lines is an example. She said: “Our online literary event gives participants the opportunity to join unexpected conversations between writers from different backgrounds and reflect on the great themes of death and life. We’re thrilled that so many brilliant authors have agreed to take part. We are sure it will encourage people to come to the cemetery to be inspired by the lives of those buried there.”