Hoxton pupils help Nick Hornby launch Ministry of Stories

New project offers free writing workshops for little monsters

Bestselling author Nick Hornby launched a project in Hackney this week inspiring a love of books and writing in youngsters.

Hornby, who wrote About A Boy and High Fidelity, opened the Ministry of Stories in Hoxton Street on Friday morning (November 19) with the help of pupils from St Monica’s RC Primary School in Hoxton Square.

The centre, the first of its kind in the UK, provides writing and literacy programmes in a rather unusual setting. Hoxton Street Monster Supplies offers products for monsters – from fang floss to tins of terror.

A similar movement in the US founded by American author Dave Eggers has inspired the east London scheme. And fellow writers Roddy Doyle and Zadie Smith are also supporting the centre, writing stories and attending free workshops for school groups and afterschool clubs.

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“Our job is to compliment what teachers do,” Hornby told the Gazette.

“The children have responded really well so far – they get very excited about coming here.

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“We chose this location because it is one of London’s less advantaged areas with lots of kids that could do with the help but also this amazing talent pool of artists, designers and writers that we hope to tap into.”

Rachel Harvey, literacy coordinator at St Monica’s, said: “Hooray for the Ministry of Stories. This is a brilliant concept, providing the perfect opportunity for children to explore their imaginations and develop their creativity in an environment unrestrained by the conventions of the curriculum.”

Hornby, who is co-founder and director of the project, hopes to spend about one day a week at the centre, which will be mostly run by volunteers.

To find out more or to get involved, go to www.ministryofstories.org.

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