Carrie O’Grady|Literary Consultant & Fiction Editor

Hackney Magazine records the stories of strangers across Hackney. Here is the latest story from Humans of Hackney.

“In 2010 I hitched my baby buggy to the wagon train and followed the trail of new parents up to Stoke Newington. It was a good move, because there can’t be another neighbourhood in London so well set up to meet the needs of babies. For seven years I bounced between soft plays, rhyme times and singalongs. That was a long haul. Now the children are safely institutionalised in Hackney’s excellent school system, and, although I miss my old job on the Guardian arts desk, I can’t go back. (Happily, I see my old colleagues often, since half the paper’s staff seem to live in the borough.)

Now I’ve set up shop as the Hackney Fiction Doctor, helping writers get their books into shape, and correcting blogs & marketing material for local businesses. There’s so much creative energy here; I feel privileged to be a part of it. Hackney, for me, mainly means Stoke Newington, because it’s such a self-contained neighbourhood.

The park is an oasis, with the weekend weddings providing a good opportunity for dress-judging. Church Street’s shops are brilliant, too. I’m well looked after by Mark at the garden centre, Lewis the fishmonger, Paul & the boys at Meat butcher’s, the brilliant ladies at the corner chemist and the fellas at KAC DIY. Sometimes, of course, you need to go further afield. I remember the happy day when I discovered that the Vietnamese supermarket on Mare Street sold my favourite flavour of instant noodles. I bought 11 packets and felt like I’d found Tutankhamen’s tomb.

When I cycle around the borough, I like to roll down Navarino Road and imagine what it must have been like 100 years ago, when it was a posh retreat for families wealthy enough to keep servants. (Ruth Rendell portrays it vividly in her novel Asta’s Book.) Then I cross London Fields, keeping an eye out for Michael Fassbender, and go see what’s new in Broadway Market. The Turkish cafes there have an egg dish called menemen – it’s delicious.