Several Storeys is about capturing the spirit of the Aylesbury Estate
We are looking for poems and short stories about the Aylesbury estate – enter our competition !
Built in the late 1960’s the Aylesbury estate was the largest housing estate in Europe. It is now undergoing a 20-year regeneration programme. An exciting new writing project, Several Storeys has been created to mark this redevelopment.
The Aylesbury estate has been described as “hells waiting room”, “infamous” & “notorious” in the press and the news for many years. It has had a chequered and interesting history. Built in the late 1960’s over an 8 year period, it quickly became short hand for inner city deprivation and poor quality housing. In 1997 Tony Blair visited the estate with a pledge to change the physical environment and improve the life chances of the residents. In 2009 the decision was made to demolish and rebuild the estate. This is currently underway and will take 15-20 years to complete.
We are conscious that this is an important part of London’s history and wanted to explore, through creative writing, how the estate has inspired or influenced us.
We know that the way the estate has been described in the media has not done the area service, there is so much more to the estate than the headlines have portrayed. We are home to 7,500 people from all over the world who occupied at its peak, 2,500 homes. The estate is the size of a small town and we know from our work with residents that all life is here.
The architecture is brutal but the people are, on the whole, warm and welcoming – at complete odds with their habitat.
We started by commissioning some creative writing with established authors, actors, journalists and film makers visit our writers page to meet them and read some excerpts from their work
We will be running a series of workshops in late February & March and holding a competition for the chance of publishing your story in our book SEVERAL STOREYS that will be a compilation of the best submissions.
Please follow us on Twitter @severalstoreys and check for updates here
What is Several Storeys?
Several Storeys is a chance for people to look beyond the architecture of this important piece of London, and to see how this space inspires them.
That’s why you wanted to create a book?
There’s been a lot said about the estate and its inhabitants, which, I think, has been poorly judged, journalistic shorthand for urban deprivation and crime and poverty, and there’s so much more to the Aylesbury story than that, and I think it’s really important we capture it before it disappears forever.
So when it’s gone, it’s gone?
There will not be massive estates built like this in London again.
And that process has started already
It’s a 20-year process; it’s being done in 4 phases. The first 600 homes are almost empty, and residents in the next phase are currently being re-homed.
Who do you want to hear from? I hear you’ve commissioned some writers?
Yes, to get the ball rolling we’ve commissioned some fantastic new writing from a whole range of writers. We want to encourage all kinds writers – whether they’re horror writers, or whether they tweet, or whether they feel they’ve got a rap in them – to look at how the estate and its inhabitants can inspire creativity.
So you don’t have to come from the Aylesbury Estate?
No, you don’t: so long as it’s inspired by the Aylesbury Estate, it’s eligible. And it doesn’t even have to be brand new – if you have something about the Estate in your back catalogue, we’d love to see it, and we will be showcasing as many eligible submissions on the site as we can. For all the information on how to submit, take a look at the How to Submit page
And the book?
All submissions will be considered for the book, and those selected will be credited. We have commissioned some writers already you can read about them here. We will be showcasing some of their work on the site over the coming month.
What about prizes?
There’ll be three prizes:
Top Tweet £100,
Best micro-fiction (under 500 words) £100 (both sponsored by architects HTA)
and Best Submission of up to 1,000 words £200
We’ll be looking for writing that best captures the spirit of the Aylesbury Estate, so even those who have never entered a writing competition in their lives are encouraged to have a go. And to help get people started, we’re running a series of writing workshops with creative writing tutor Claire Collison, to support those new to writing.
Finally, can you sum up the spirit of the project?
The estate is home to seven and a half thousand people, living in an environment that can be really challenging. What we have here is a small town – we’ve got a school, a probation centre, a pub, football pitches, walkways, gardens… There are amazing people and amazing stories, and we want to hear them.
This week you can read Stephen Charlick’s story here:
Alex Burrett’s Story in Full here:
Michael Holland’s story – http://www.severalstoreys.co.uk/a-sunday-walk-michael-Holland/
Sponsors HTA architects