Ken Worpole

Ken Worpole

Ken Worpole is a writer and social historian, whose work includes many books on architecture, landscape and public policy. He is married to photographer Larraine Worpole with whom he has collaborated on book projects internationally, as well as in Hackney, London, where they have lived and worked since 1969.

His principal interests concern the planning and design of new settlements, landscapes and public institutions - streets, parks, playgrounds, libraries, informal education - based on the pioneering achievements of 20th century social democracy and the environmental movement. In recent years he has focused on recovering the social history of communitarian experiments in both town and country, drawing lessons for the creation of new residential and environmentally sustainable forms of settlement for an ageing population.

Ken has served on the UK government’s Urban Green Spaces Task Force, on the Expert Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and as an adviser to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. He was a founder member of the Demos think-tank and of Opendemocracy.

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For many years, Ken Worpole has been one of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape.
The Independent

For well over 40 years Ken Worpole has been one of the most eloquent and forward thinking writers in Britain.
Icon: International Design,Architecture & Culture

So We Live book cover

Just Published

So We Live: the novels of Alexander Baron

Edited by Susie Thomas, Andrew Whitehead & Ken Worpole

Alexander Baron (1917 - 1999) grew up in Hackney, joined the Communist Party as a young man, saw the thick of battle in Sicily and Normandy, and his first novel, From the City, From the Plough (1948), was acclaimed as the definitive novel of the Second World War, the first of a trilogy including There’s No Home (1950) and The Human Kind (1953). There followed by a string of novels about working class life in post-war Hackney, including the cult novel The Lowlife (1963), set in 1960s Stoke Newington. This collection of critical essays reclaims the importance of Baron as one of the key post-war British novelists, whose reputation is once again in the ascendancy, with many novels back in print.

Published by Five Leaves, June 2019
For more information:

Ken's latest blog: This is the place

Links to feature essays & talks:

The Essex Deluge (New Statesman, 2019)

A House At the End of Life
(New Statesman, 2019)

Six days in Uptopia
(New Humanist, 2019)

Watch: Ken in conversation with artist Richard Wentworth at arebyte gallery, November 2017

Watch: Ken’s talk on landscape values at the 2015 Doughnut Festival

Listen to Ken in conversation with Rachel Lichtenstein at the London Review Bookshop on The New English Landscape