King’s Cross is Rising is a collection of stories by John Simmons and King’s Cross Underground station staff.
The author, John Simmons, was invited by Platform for Art to be the first ever writer-in-residence at King’s Cross Underground station. Following an initial period of consultation with individuals who work at the station and on the Circle line, Simmons led a series of creative-writing workshops. These took place in a room known as the “Quiet Room” at King’s Cross: a small and sparsely decorated space that acts as a sanctuary for staff from the relentless hustle and bustle of the station. During the workshops the Quiet Room came alive with voices and laughter as staff wrote with Simmons, shared their stories, jokes, favourite words and memories – and put them down on paper. What has resulted is a fascinating random mix of beginnings of novels, poems and short stories reflecting the myriad voices that work and pass through the station everyday, as one of the participants Asim Chaudry describes:
“individuals going about their lives, their heads filled with a million thoughts.”
King’s Cross rail and Tube station was built on the site of a monument to King George IV, to which Simmons makes reference in his own work, Full Circle in 28 Stops. Today, perhaps, the site could be seen as a monument to London’s ability to regenerate and flourish in the face of adversity. King’s Cross and its staff have borne witness to the tragedies of the fire of 1987 and the 7/7 atrocities, but have remained proudly resilient while the station forges ahead with a new international identity as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link nears completion.
King’s Cross is Rising reveals the personalities behind the uniforms worn by our world class staff, enabling their hidden talents to rise to the fore.
The booklet was originally produced for internal distribution, but free limited-edition copies can be obtained on request by contacting Platform for Art email: [email protected]
A selection of poems and stories can be found below:
John Simmons is one of the UK’s leading writers for business, and an advocate of the need for business writing to be more expressive and human. He has worked in the design and branding industries for many years, most recently at www.thewriter.co.uk through which he runs creative-writing workshops for individuals and organisations. His books – We, me, them & it, The invisible grail and Dark angels – encourage people to put more of their own personalities into their writing at work. He also writes journalism and the stories of brands, including books on Starbucks, the Arsenal and Innocent Drinks.
Simmons is a founder director of 26, the not-for-profit group that champions the cause of more creative writing in business. He was the initiator of the Circle Line project From here to here that was a highlight of the 2005 London Design Festival, involving a collaboration between teams from 26, London Underground and the London College of Communications. He was also the lead editor of the From here to here book and writer of the chapter on King’s Cross.