Free Word works at the meeting point of literature, literacy and free expression as a catalyst for collaborations, nationally and internationally, that explore the transformative power of words. At our London hub, the Free Word Centre, we run a programme of events and exhibitions, and provide a home to six resident organisations and over 25 associates, working across literature, literacy and free expression.
The Free Word Centre is located at 60 Farringdon Road, London, in a building that dates back to 1875. Originally constructed as a warehouse, it has been occupied by a wheelwright’s workshop, studios for music education and filmmaking, and most recently The Guardian’s archive and education/exhibition centre.
The area’s connection to literature and politics go back centuries. Bookstalls lined the pavements of Farringdon Road from the 1870s to the 1990s, and nearby Clerkenwell Green has been historically associated with radicalism, from the Lollards in the sixteenth century to the Chartists in the nineteenth. In the 1900s, Vladimir Lenin edited the magazine Iskra from 37a Clerkenwell Green. For a full history, we recommend Philippa Lewis's 60 Farringdon Road (commissioned for the launch of Free Word).
Free Word is run by a team led by Rose Fenton, who succeeded our first director Shreela Ghosh in September 2011. As well as managing the building and supporting its eight resident organisations, the Free Word team runs its own projects and initiatives, such as International Translation Day and its Translators in Residence programme.