Free Word is an international centre for literature, literacy and free expression. We aim to push boundaries to promote, protect and democratise the power of the word for creative and free expression.
Located in the heart of London but with an international outlook, the Free Word Centre is home to seven resident organisations and over 25 associates working across literature, literacy and free expression.
Free Word offers flexible meeting space and a lively café. A hub for innovation, collaboration and activism, Free Word runs a diverse programme of events, lectures and performances. We encourage debate and discussion across the worlds of culture and politics, committed to promoting openness, community and intellectual enquiry in a rapidly changing world.
Free Word is many things: a venue, a meeting place, an office space, a thinking space, a place of debate and risk taking, a window to the world and a robust voice for the power of the word.
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.