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Street Writing Woman: A Tribute to Laura Del-Rivo

October 18, 2022

The Electric Cinema, 191 Portobello Road W11 2ED

Featuring a rare screening of Michael Winner’s West 11 (1963) adapted from Laura’s first novel The Furnished Room (1961)

Plus introductory talk and Q&A with special guests, and the chance to buy Laura’s novels from Holland Park Press and Five Leaves Press

Sunday 27 November 2pm-4.30pm

Tickets £15 from

A true writer of the streets, Laura Del-Rivo (1934-2022) was known to most of her friends around Portobello Road as ‘the tights lady’ – a market stall purveyor of the finest, most eye-catching hosiery in West London. Though her ever-stylish appearance held clues, few people realised she had led a literary double life.

That, back in 1961, the publication of her debut novel The Furnished Room marked the debut of Britain’s first female beatnik author – a young, convent-educated woman who had escaped from the stockbroker belt in Surrey to pitch up at 24 Chepstow Villas W11 – where she lived alongside budding actors, fighting artists and original Angry Young Man, Colin Wilson.

The book – an epochal evocation of existentialist rebels, art students, conmen and petty crooks mixing it up at bottle parties in a Rachmanesque Ladbroke Grove – had scarcely hit the shelves before it was optioned by ambitious local film director Michael Winner, who turned it into his first major feature in 1963.

As a tribute to Laura, who sadly packed up her barrow and left her furnished room for the last time on 30 March 2022, her family and friends invite you to join us for a screening of West 11 and a celebration of her life at the epicentre of Portobello Road, the Electric Cinema, on 27 November 2022 at 2pm.

As well as the chance to see Winner’s film on the big screen, there will be talks and a Q&A featuring special guests, author and Colin Wilson archivist Colin Stanley and local writer Cathi Unsworth. There will also be the chance to furnish your own room with Laura’s books from Holland Park Press and Five Leaves Press, including rare editions of her ’80s Grove classic Speedy and Queen Kong.

Advance tickets available from The Electric Cinema

More on Laura

In Memoriam Laura Del Rivo

Where Is My Mask of an Honest Man?

Laura Del Rivo author’s page

Laura in 3:Am Magazine

The Furnished Room

Five Leaves Press