London has been ravaged by Covid, its economic heart hammered, its frailties exposed and its most vulnerable people hit hardest of all. At the same time, London-bashing has continued to be a political tactic and, for some, a national pastime, never mind the contributions the capital and its people make to lives across the whole of the UK.
Yet London will continue to be vital to the nation’s future. And its history as an urban organism contains countless illustrations of its staying power and durability. The city needs and deserves is a bit more love. And you, On London reader, have an opportunity to give it some.
The London Society is a century-old organisation dedicated to cherishing London’s architectural past and to constructive debate about the future of its built environment and more. I am one of its trustees and also one of the judges of a competition it has just launched. We held a little event in the penthouse of Centre Point this morning, courtesy of its owner Almacantar, which is also one of the competition’s sponsors, along with architects Stiff & Trevillion and community-focused regeneration advisers ftwork.
The challenge is to write a Love Letter to London of up to 500 words around the theme of recovery and resilience. The letter can take the form of a historical essay, a piece of reportage, a work of fiction, an exercise in futurology or a poem. There are five categories (including one for under-18s) and generous cash prizes. My fellow judges are:
- Razia Iqbal, BBC arts correspondent.
- Nicholas Spice, publisher of the London Review of Books.
- N.M. Browne, writer and author.
- André Naffis-Sahely, editor, Poetry London.
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