Two books written by neighbours living on housing estates in Neasden and Wembley have been accepted by Senate House Library.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Authors of the Estate whose book has been accepted at Senate House Library. Picture; Abdou CisseAuthors of the Estate whose book has been accepted at Senate House Library. Picture; Abdou Cisse (Image: Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.)

Authors of the Estate: St Raphael’s Estate Edition, and Authors of the Estate: Chalkhill Estate Edition, published by Freedom & Balance (F&B), have made it to the shelves of the Malet Street library.

The project was created by St Raph’s resident Andre Anderson, who wanted to see housing estates turn into publishing houses and in 2015 founded Freedom & Balance, “an art college for the artist in everyone”.

That year he involved six young people from his estate, who wrote a book which was eventually distributed to all 1,000 homes.

Last year, F&B student Nabil Al-Kinani, from Chalkhill estate, gathered 22 neighbours for the Chalkhill Estate Edition, which launched in October.

Nabil said: “I want this book to land on a 13 year old’s lap. Imagine the impact that a book like this will have on a child — seeing their otherwise “ordinary” neighbours creating literature and calling themselves authors. It helps them understand that their words carry more weight than they can possibly comprehend.

“A bunch of people from a block in North West London managed to make a book that not only spanned the globe, but ended up on the library shelves of the Senate House Library; with the instructions laid out within the book itself on how to do so.

“So, hopefully that 13 year old grows up to lead his or her people away from the expectations imposed on them from others and for them to go on to create a change that will benefit them and their communities.”

Founder and chief Andre said: “We knew that our stories were important, and that it deserves to be shared and remembered.

“We spent summer 2019 recording our personal stories and histories to remind ourselves that our voices are powerful.

“The book we released was a success without it having to be read outside of NW London for that reason; we were the main audience for the book.

“But the readership of the book grew to national and international levels. Sometimes knowing that is a little overwhelming. It reminds me that our everyday experience, no matter how ‘everyday’ they may feel, is of cultural and historical importance.

“This is something that I’ve always felt but now, seeing the response our book has had in the world, it’s something I know.”