Ealing Central Library is one of 20 libraries that will team up with acclaimed authors and a leading London writers’ agency to inspire Londoners to reveal their stories as part of a two-year literary initiative.

City of Stories is an Arts Council England funded London-wide celebration of writing, reading and stories, managed by Spread the Word and commissioned by the Association of London Chief Librarians.

Leading writers Irenosen Okojie (Butterfly Fish, Betty Trask Award 2016), Courttia Newland (The Gospel According to Cane), Bidisha (Asylum and Exile: The Hidden Voices of London) and Alex Wheatle MBE (Crongton Knights, Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2016) will take up residencies in London libraries.

Ms Newland said: “Libraries are the lifeblood of literature.

“Without them, many of our well-loved authors might have struggled to become writers at all, or at least found things a great deal tougher.

“They're our beacons in a misty world, particularly in cities where stories are plentiful, but distractions equally numerous.

“With Spread the Word we can continue to find the meaningful, necessary stories that beg to be told, and work with the many talented writers who are determined to tell them.”

As well as producing original short stories themselves, they will hear Londoners’ tales and encourage them to take part in short story writing workshops with an eye on spotting emerging talent.

There will also be a City of Stories booklet containing 20 winning entries from each London borough, which will appear alongside the writers in residence short stories.

The booklet will be launched at celebration events at local libraries and made available to readers across London.

Anthony Hopkins, President of the Association of London Chief Librarians, said: “The City of Stories project gives London’s libraries an opportunity to enhance their engagement with aspiring writers and authors.

“Libraries historically have been an important part of a writer’s development and this project gives them even greater access and tools to improve their craft.

“Through a series of workshops, aspiring writers will be given access to experts and the tools to further develop their work.”