July 8, 2015

Authors host night at Waterstones Piccadilly to save William Blake’s cottage


William Blake's cottageWhen William Blake‘s cottage hit the market in July 2013, a handful of writers began to imagine the space as “a house of refuge for persecuted writers.” Rather than a museum, it would be a space for academics and poets whose work has been influenced by Blake.

Authors like Tracy ChevalierPhilip Pullman, Stephen Fry, Alan Moore, and Russell Brand supported a crowdfunding campaign to save the house in Sussex. This is the house where Blake composed the hymn “Jerusalem.”

Blake called the cottage “a dwelling for immortals,” and indeed the Blake Society and its supporters will do the best they can to keep it that way. They have raised £212,000 so far. Now a Waterstones fundraiser is in the works, with support from Deborah Levy, SJ Watson and Rowan Coleman.

From The Bookseller:

Celebrating William Blake, at Waterstones Piccadilly on Saturday 19th September, will feature Blake-themed readings, discussion and interpretations. Also taking part in the evening will be writers and artists George Szirtes, Daljit Nagra, Alex Marwood, Katherine Ellis, and Richard Skinner, who is director of fiction at Faber Academy as well as a poet.

The event will also showcase a series of new poems inspired by Blake, collected for a new pamphlet The Ecchoing Green edited by Skinner.

The initiative to save the house has been in the works for years, and the Blake Society’s commitment to the cause is impressive. Novelist Rowan Coleman said, “Beacons of inspiration, as important as Blake should be treated as a precious legacy, and that includes preserving the places that inspired them, for generations to come.”


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.