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Life and work of award-winning Highbury author Andrea Levy celebrated with plaque at her childhood home

PUBLISHED: 12:51 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:51 17 March 2020

Family and friends of Andrea Levy with Bill Mayblin (centre), Andrea's husband. Picture: Em Fitzgerald

Family and friends of Andrea Levy with Bill Mayblin (centre), Andrea's husband. Picture: Em Fitzgerald

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The life and work of award-winning Highbury author Andrea Levy was celebrated with a plaque unveiling at her childhood home on Saturday.

Bill Mayblin (left) unveils Islington Heritage Plaque celebrating author Andrea Levy, with Islington Deputy Mayor Troy Gallagher (right). Picture: Em FitzgeraldBill Mayblin (left) unveils Islington Heritage Plaque celebrating author Andrea Levy, with Islington Deputy Mayor Troy Gallagher (right). Picture: Em Fitzgerald

In a joy-filled ceremony at Twyford House on the Blackstock Estate, Andrea’s husband Bill Mayblin unveiled the Islington Heritage Plaque as family members, councillors and Andrea’s close friend baroness Lola Young all watched on.

Andrea, born in the Whittington Hospital, died of cancer last year aged 62.

She began to write as a hobby in her 30s and is now considered one of the foremost chroniclers of the British Caribbean experience. Her writing provides an insight into UK life from the perspective of the Windrush Generation and she is best known for her novels Small Island, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Long Song, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.

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Bill said: “If Andrea could have seen this plaque she would have been amazed, and maybe a little embarrassed even.

“As for me, I’m just so very proud that her achievements are recognised and celebrated in this corner of Islington that meant so much to her - and that featured so much in her work.”

Heritage plaques are erected by Islington Council to commemorate significant people, places and events in the borough.

Islington’s libraries and heritage chief Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “Andrea Levy’s achievements have had a huge impact on the UK’s literary landscape and her work has left a lasting legacy in the borough that she grew up in.

“In the context of the deep injustices faced by members of the Windrush generation, voices like Andrea’s are more important than ever. Her books remind us not only of the importance of different perspectives but also that whatever their story, people are capable of great kindness and strength.

“With this plaque, the borough of her birth celebrates Andrea as one of our most treasured literary heroes. Her words and work will be remembered for generations to come.”


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