Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Raymond Briggs wins BookTrust 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Raymond Briggs, the iconic children’s author and illustrator – famed for The Snowman, Fungus the Bogeyman and Ethel and Ernest, his graphic novel/animated film for adults, has been awarded the prestigious BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children's literature. The award was set up in 2015 to celebrate an author or illustrator's outstanding contribution to children's books. The first winner was Shirley Hughes, author of Dogger and the Alfie series, whilst Judith Kerr was awarded the accolade in 2016.

The adjudicating panel is made up of six judges including writer Nicolette Jones, current Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, author and illustrator Cressida Cowell, poet John Agard, Shami Chakrabarti, Britain's leading human rights campaigner and BookTrust's CEO Diana Gerald.

Briggs, who has become synonymous with Christmas, said: “It’s lovely to be given an award for all my life achievements. Drawing, telling stories and sharing these adventures is something I’ve always been passionate about. Being awarded the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award is an incredible honour and I’m so glad I’ve been able to make such an impression on people.”
Raymond’s most noted works include the classic Christmas tales The Snowman and Father Christmas, as well as Fungus the Bogeyman, Ug, The Bear, When the Wind Blows,Gentleman Jim and Ethel and Ernest.  Born in 1934 to dad Ernest, a milkman and Ethel, a former lady's maid-turned-housewife, Briggs showed interest in cartooning from an early age and attended various art schools. He briefly pursued painting before becoming a professional illustrator, winning several awards throughout his extended career, including the 1966 and 1973 Kate Greenaway Medals from the British Library Association, the Horn Book Award in 1979 and the British Book Award in 1993 and 1999.
Discussing the impact of Raymond Briggs’ work, Judge Shami Chakrabarti said: "Raymond is a true artistic genius who has touched the hearts of millions of children of all ages. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and his particular style of illustration is unmistakable as are his understated and poignant words of narrative and dialogue. His talent expresses his values and with his choice and treatment of subjects he brings our history and contemporary challenges to life."
CEO of BookTrust Diana Gerald said: “It is truly an honour to be presenting our third Lifetime Achievement Award to someone with such captivating and inspiring work. Raymond continues to have such a widespread impact on both children and adults and the award is so very well deserved.”
The awards ceremony takes place in London today, with the current Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell leading the celebrations.

‘Raymond is a genius. Utterly original. He has revolutionised how stories are told – without words, in little strips of pictures – and what stories for children can be about – a Snowman who melts, a Bogeyman who ponders the meaning of life, what happens to ordinary folk in a nuclear attack. We are proud to be his publishers and we salute him!’
Francesca Dow, MD of Penguin Random House Children’s Books
‘It is an absolute joy to work with Raymond, and an honour to publish his incredible books. Raymond can evoke a giggle, a laugh, tears, surprise, distaste and wonderment – with just a line. His beautiful, emotionally eloquent illustrations take us to worlds real and imagined, above and below ground. He captures the everyday struggles we all deal with, whether we’re a child, a child-eating giant, a Bogeyman or Father Christmas. These are books to be savoured as a child, an adult and all the years in between’
Jo Hanks, Publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s Books

Raymond Briggs is one of Penguin’s most respected and beloved artists. Born in Wimbledon in 1934, he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and went on to produce a treasure trove of work. He has created characters that are icons for generations of children, including Fungus the Bogeyman, Father Christmas and, of course, the cherished Snowman. He has won many awards over his career including the Kurt Maschler Award, The Children’s Book of the Tear and the prestigious Kate Greenaway Award for his Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme collection.
BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. We work to inspire a love of reading in children because we know that reading can transform lives. Each year we reach 2.5 million children across the UK with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading, because we know that reading can transform lives. Every parent receives a BookTrust book in the baby’s first year. Our books are delivered via health, library, schools and early year’s practitioners, and are supported with guidance, advice and resources to encourage the reading habit. Reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on educational outcomes, well-being and social mobility, and is also a huge pleasure in itself. We are committed to starting children on their reading journey and supporting them throughout.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


19,000 Scottish Children Cast a Vote

Author Nick Sharratt has been announced as the winner of the very first Bookbug Picture Book Prize for his picture book Shark in the Park on a Windy Day, published by Picture Corgi.
Sharratt beat off stiff competition from the other two shortlisted authors, Ross Collins and Alison Murray, to win £3,000 and the coveted Bookbug Picture Book Prize trophy, which this year has been produced by Scottish paper artist Emily Hogarth. 
The prize, voted for exclusively by 19,000 Scottish children aged 3-7, was set up in 2016 to celebrate the most popular picture books by Scottish authors or illustrators, and is run by Scottish Book Trust with support from Creative Scotland.
          Commenting on the prize, Nick said:
“I am absolutely delighted that ‘Shark in the Park on a Windy Day’ has won the 2017 Bookbug Picture Book Prize. It was wonderful to have my book included in the Bookbug bag as part of Scottish Book Trust's brilliant Bookbug project and to win this award really is the icing on the cake. I've had the pleasure of going into scores of Scottish schools, nurseries and libraries to work with hundreds of children over the past few years, so the fact that the voting was decided upon by the country's young readers makes the prize all the more special.”
Shark in the Park on a Windy Day is the third book in the best-selling Shark in the Park series, where little Timothy Pope is blown this way and that as readers join him in peeping through his telescope. Nick has worked as an illustrator and author of children's books since the late 1980s and has created illustrations for close to two hundred and fifty books.  As well as producing around sixty of his own books (which have been translated into more than a dozen languages) he’s worked with numerous writers including Julia Donaldson, Michael Rosen and Giles Andreae. His most famous collaboration is with Jacqueline Wilson, for whom he has illustrated more than forty fiction titles.
Heather Collins, Schools Programme Manager, said:
“It’s fantastic to see our brand new Bookbug Picture Book prize get off to such a strong start, with tens of thousands of children up and down the country reading, sharing and voting for their favourite title. This is in no small part due to the enthusiasm and hard work of teachers, parents and librarians, and their commitment to ensuring that Scottish children grow up surrounded by books and cuddles.”   
Aly Barr, Acting Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said;
“This award, more than many others, is one that really counts for authors. It’s not only a chance for young readers to make their own minds up and vote for their favourites; it’s a way to reverse the polarity and have the readers connect with the writer.”
A free copy of each of the three books on the shortlist, There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins, Hare and Tortoise, The Favourite Aesop’s Fableby Alison Murray and Shark in the Park on a Windy Day by Nick Sharratt was given to every Primary 1 child during Book Week Scotland 2016, in the Bookbug P1 Family Bag.
A photo of Nick reading Shark in the Park on a Windy Day to Aoife (3) from Edinburgh, is available to download here and here (free to use):
You can download the video of the winners announcement here. Please feel free to use it on your website if you would like to.
                                                     0131 524 0175 or 07751 69 58 54

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Coram Voice launches writing competition

Coram Voice launches writing competition to celebrate the voices of care-experienced children and young people 
Following the success of ‘Voices’, its first ever national writing competition in 2016, Coram Voice is excited to open the competition for a second year on 9 January.
The charity, which provides a range of services for children and young people in and around the care system, is launching Voices 2017 as a platform for care-experienced young people to express their creative talents.
The theme of this year’s competition is ‘New Beginnings’ and Coram Voice is asking children and young people to draw inspiration from a change in their lives or opportunities they’ve experienced to try something new.
The competition is grouped in three age categories: primary school, secondary school and care leavers, with a special additional award for migrant children in care or care leavers. Entries, which can be submitted online from 9 January until 21 February, can be in any written style including poems, short stories or newspaper articles, with a 500 word limit.
The entries for Voices 2017 will be judged by a panel of authors, journalists and writers including:
·         Alex Wheatle, winner of the 2016 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
·         Jackie Long, Social Affairs Editor for Channel 4 News
·         Jenny Molloy, author of ‘Hackney Child’
·         Paolo Hewitt, music journalist, writer and author of ‘The Looked After Kid’
·         Nikesh Shukla, writer and editor of ‘The Good Immigrant’
·         Keren David, author of young adult fiction including ‘Salvage’
·         Luke Stevenson, Children’s Social Care Journalist for Community Care
Winners will be announced by the judges at an awards ceremony in London on 10 April.
One of the judges, Keren David commented: “I am delighted to be on the judging panel. Young people in care are full of talent and potential and their voices need to be heard.”
Steven, winner of the Secondary School category for Voices 2016 said: “I didn’t think I’d win so I was really happy when they said I had. I’ve since had the opportunity to read my story to my year group and at other events.
“I’d say to this year’s entrants – think back to your past, and put in what you can remember. Even if you think you can’t win – as I did – you never know, just try your best.”
For more information about Voices 2017, how to enter and prizes, please

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Moomins exhibition!

First major UK exhibition devoted to the Moomins opens tomorrow
Adventures in Moominland, Part of Nordic Matters
16 December 2016 – 23 April 2017
The world of acclaimed Finnish author Tove Jansson (1914‐2001) and her famous creation Family Moomintroll is brought to life in the UK’s first major exhibition devoted to the Moomins and the life of Tove Jansson at Southbank Centre from 16 December. Adventures in Moominland is an immersive and interactive exhibition that features recreations of scenes from Moominland and over 40 original drawings and archive materials from Tove’s studio in Helsinki and her family island of Klovharu. The show is part of Nordic Matters - a year-long exploration of Nordic art and culture at Southbank Centre throughout 2017.
Over half of the works and objects in the exhibition are shown in the UK for the first time including the very earliest Moomintroll dolls to be sold commercially, Tove’s painting palette and painting utensils and flower headdress. Some of the earliest representations of a Moomin - appearing as a motif on the cover of the satirical magazine GARM that Tove contributed to and in a loose watercolour sketch of a small black figure sailing into the sunset - are featured. Guided tours of the immersive show include an audio narrative voiced by Sandi Toksvig and written by children’s author Laura Dockrill.  
The exhibition explores how several of the Moomin stories, such as Comet in Moominland (1946) andMoominland Midwinter (1957) were written against the backdrop of political and socio-economic change in Finland and heavily influenced by Tove’s relationships with family, friends and lovers which defined the narrative and character development. Written during a time of hardship in the wake of WWII, the tolerant world of Moominvalley offered a refuge from the harshness of reality. Although the stories often saw the Moomins fleeing from danger, Tove ensured that there was always a happy and uplifting ending.
Tove explored her art and own sexuality within the confines of this changing political landscape - and her friends, enemies, fears and hopes often found themselves manifested in the complex and emotional stories.  One drawing on display depicts Thingumy and Bob, who represent Tove and her lover, Vivica Bandler - a married woman with whom Tove had a brief and passionate affair. At the time, same sex relationships were illegal in Finland and so the relationship had to be kept secret.
Adventures in Moominland reveals - through a short animated interpretation by artist Elizabeth Hobbs created exclusively for the show -  that Moomintroll began life as a character to be feared, inspired by stories told to her by her uncle. Tove’s first drawing of a Moomin was made when she was a young woman during an argument about Kant with her brother Per Olov. She drew the ugliest figure that she could on the interior wall of a family outhouse. Moomintroll was later refined, became the character we know today and was joined by a host of other characters including Moominmama, Moominpapa, Snufkin, Sniff, Snork Maiden and Little My.
The exhibition explores the influence of the Nordic landscape within the Moomin books, from the dense forests of Moominvalley to a canvas tent on the water’s edge in Finland and the snowy, Winter landscape represented inMoominland in Midwinter (1957). The show includes a preparatory watercolour sketch for the cover of the book. In recognition of Tove’s love of jazz, the exhibition includes a jazz soundtrack composed by Aki Rissanen and commissioned by Southbank Centre.
Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson, said: "Tove's work was very much inspired by her life experience - both on the highly personal level of her close relationships and more generally in terms of the influence of Finnish society, politics, lifestyle and landscapes. Southbank Centre's approach of combining archive objects from Tove's home and studio with immersive worlds straight from the pages of the Moomin books is the perfect way to tell the story of how this artist and her creations developed in conjunction with one another."
Paul Denton, Producer, Southbank Centre, said: “Tove Jansson’s work is beloved throughout the world by children and adults alike, and we’re delighted to be able to introduce a new generation to the magical world of the Moomins through this new immersive exhibition.”
The Moomin books explored in the show include Moomins and the Great Flood (1945), Comet in Moominland(1946), Finn Family Moomintroll (1948), Moomin Midwinter (1957) and Moominpapa at Sea (1965). Original Moomin comic strips by Tove will be displayed in Southbank Centre’s Archive Studio in Royal Festival Hall until February 2017. The comic strips were first published in the London Evening News - later absorbed into the London Evening Standard - from the 1950s onwards.
A pop-up Moomins shop, courtesy of The Moomins Shop, Covent Garden, is located on Level 2 of the Royal Festival Hall. .
For further press information, images, interview requests and to arrange press tickets please contact:
Jeanette Ward, Press Manager on / 020 7921 0789
Harriet Black, Press Officer on  / 020 7921 0888
LISTINGS INFORMATION @SouthbankCentre #SCMoomins #NordicMatters

Adventures in Moominland Part of Nordic Matters
16 December 2016 - 23 April 2017, Spirit Level at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall
The world of acclaimed Finnish author Tove Jansson and The Moomins is brought to life in a major new immersive, interactive exhibition Adventures in Moominland. The exhibition presents new insights into Jansson’s life and the influences behind her work with archive objects and illustrations built into the experience. Recommended for ages 7+
Timings and prices:
Weekends and holidays – PEAK
Every 15 minutes between 10am – 6pm (last tour enters at 6pm)
£16.50/£13.50 (supporter ticket*)
£15/£12 (non-supporter ticket)

Midweek – OFF PEAK
Daily, on the hour at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm & 6pm
Thursdays and Fridays only, an additional tour at 7pm for adults only
£13.50/£11.50 (supporter ticket*)
£12/£10 (non-supporter ticket)
Mischief and Mysteries in Moominvalley
11 - 19 February, 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.00pm (no 12.30 performance on 18 February) Level 4 Green Bar at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, ages 4-7 years, £8
Magical puppetry, original music and interactive play are involved in this Moominvalley workshop. Tickets are £8 for the child but parents must stay throughout the workshop.
Exhibition tickets purchased online include a 20% discount on The Moomin Colouring Book (Price after discount £8). To purchase tickets visit or call 020 7960 4200

FAB Prize 2017. New prize to find Black, Asian or Ethnic writers and illustrators for children.

FAB Prize 2017
Faber & Faber and the Andlyn Literary Agency launch new prize to find Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers and illustrators for children
Faber Children’s has teamed up with the Andlyn Literary Agency to create the Faber Andlyn BAME (FAB) Prize to help discover new writers and illustrators from BAME backgrounds, and to provide a year-long mentoring scheme for one author and one illustrator.
Judging panel: Faber Children's Publisher Leah Thaxton, Andlyn Literary Agent Davinia Andrew-Lynch, Faber Creative Director Donna Payne, Faber Children's Art Director Emma Eldridge.
Leah Thaxton says: 'I am extremely excited about this prize and the opportunity it gives us to reach out directly to undiscovered BAME writers and illustrators for children. It is clear that the industry needs to do much, much more to unearth new talent and make our publishing more representative.'  
Davinia Andrew-Lynch says: ‘We know that young readers greatly benefit from books which reflect the society in which they live, and that such books provide a clearer understanding of the world around them. To meaningfully change the output of our market we need to reach out beyond the usual publishing spheres and directly find those writers and illustrators who may, for whatever reason, have not been given a voice within our industry.'  

Donna Payne says: ‘This is a call to all those undiscovered writers and illustrators who possess the talent to channel their own BAME experiences into books that can be enjoyed by every child, regardless of ethnicity. It's been said that books have the power to enable us to change how we see the world, and this is especially true of children's publishing. The FAB prize is a fantastic opportunity to find a way into the publishing industry for those authors and artists with the power to change.’

Emma Eldridge says : ‘This is an important and exciting competition and I look forward to seeing many talented entrants’ work. I hope the prize will bring recognition to the very best undiscovered BAME children's writers and illustrators.’

First Prize
For illustration: £500 (or £300 and a one year portfolio membership for the Association of Illustrators worth £200), plus a private consultation with Donna Payne, Emma Eldridge and Davinia Andrew-Lynch, followed by a year of regular mentoring, plus a selection of Faber books.
For text: £500, plus a private consultation with Leah Thaxton and Davinia Andrew-Lynch, followed by a year of regular mentoring, plus a selection of Faber books.
Second prize
Consultation with Leah Thaxton, Donna Payne, Emma Eldridge and Davinia Andrew-Lynch, plus a selection of Faber books.

Entrants must be of black, Asian or minority ethnic background
Entrants must be previously unpublished
Entries must be text or artwork for children (i.e. 1–18 years), not for adults
UK and Ireland residents only
Applicants must be over 18
Applicants can apply for both prizes – text and illustration but can only submit one entry per text or art category. All email entries will be acknowledged on receipt, but only winners will be contacted directly, so please watch out for the announcement in June 2017!
Please email or send by post a maximum of 5,000 words of text
There is no minimum word count and the maximum 5,000 words can be a sample of a longer work – it does not have to be a short story (though those are welcome too!)
Please send in the complete story if the text is for a picture book. (Picture books should not be longer than 5000 words!)
If your text competition entry is for an illustrated book, you do not need to submit illustrations.
If sending by post, NO handwritten entries please
Please do not send original work. Please do not send CDs of work.
We will not be able to return entries
If emailing, please send the text either as a Word document or a PDF attachment, not in the body of the email, and put ‘Text Submission’ as the subject of your email heading
Please include your name in the file name
Please send your entry by email to
Or please send your postal entry to: TEXT SUBMISSION, FAB PRIZE, Faber & Faber, 74–77 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DA

Please email or send by post either 1) a maximum of ten A4 pages of illustration OR 2) the full layouts and illustrations for a 32-page picture book
Please do not send original work. Please do not send CDs of work
We will not be able to return entries
Entries can include text, but text is not necessary to enter the illustration competition.
If emailing, please send your art as a PDF attachment, and put ‘Art Submission’ as the subject of your email heading. Please include your name in the file name.
Please send your entry by email entries to
Or please send your postal entry to: ILLUSTRATION SUBMISSION, FAB PRIZE, Faber & Faber, 74–77 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DA


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

National Non-Fiction November 2016

To celebrate National Non-Fiction November 2016 The Federation of Children's Book Groups has drawn up a list of 100 of the most exciting, intriguing, eye-opening non-fiction books for
children and young people of all ages, books to delight, inspire and make you gasp (or even giggle) in wonder.

With the support of a wide range of non-fiction publishers, The FCBG has teamed up with World Book Day for a spectacular giveaway - the sort that will instantly create an incredible library packed with true adventures through time and space, bursting at the seams with titles to feed curiosity, amazement and delight in the real world.

Prize A: 1 set of all 100 books featured in the booklist, '100 Brilliant Non-Fiction Books for Children and Young People'

Prize B: 1 set of 33 books aimed primarily at 0-7 year olds, all featured in the booklist

Prize C: 1 set of 34 books aimed primarily at 5 - 11 year olds, all featured in the booklist

Prize D: 1 set of 33 books aimed primarily at 9+ year olds, all featured in the booklist

Groups, schools, libraries and other institutions are eligible for the 100 book giveaway (Prize A). Members of the public are being encouraged to nominate the groups/school/library they work in, or know about (for example - though not restricted to - schools with dedicated school librarians, extra curricular clubs, education teams in hospitals, charities and other non- governmental organisations), who they believe would relish a brand new set of incredible non-fiction books.

The giveaways for prizes B,C and D are open to individuals.

Find full details of the giveaway (including how to nominate organisations or enter as individuals) and download the full '100 Brilliant Non-Fiction Books for Children and Young People’ list at :

National Non-Fiction November is the Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ annual celebration of all things factual. Born out of National Non-Fiction Day, the brain child of Adam Lancaster during his years as Chair, the whole month now celebrates all those readers that have a passion for information and facts and attempts to raise awareness and appreciation of non-fiction books for children and young people. Extensive resources for exploring and celebrating non-fiction books can be found at #NNFN

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups was set up as a charity by Anne Wood, the originator of The Teletubbies. It acts as an umbrella organisation for local Children’s Book Groups all over the UK. The groups organise a variety of activities including author events and other activities that promote the enjoyment of children’s books. The Federation co-ordinates The Children's Book Award (now in its 35th year) and also produces numerous specialist book lists, organises National Share-a-Story Month each May, and holds an annual conference each spring. @Fcbgnews

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) of encouraging a love of reading for pleasure. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world. On 2nd March 2017 children and young people of all ages will come together across the UK and Ireland to celebrate 20 amazing years of the campaign. World Book Day is a registered charity, no. 1079257. @WorldBookDayUK

For more information about National Non-Fiction November please contact: Zoe Toft,
Federation of Children's Book Groups, 10 St Laurence Road, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1JG
Registered Charity no. 268289

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Stratford Literary Festival and The Salariya Book Company launch Debut Children’s Picture Book Prize

Stratford Literary Festival and The Salariya Book Company launch Debut Children’s Picture Book Prize

To mark its 10th anniversary in 2017, the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival is launching a Prize, in partnership with children’s book publisher The Salariya Book Company, to find the next big children’s author/illustrator. The winning story will be published in the UK and the winner or winning team will receive an advance of £5000 against royalties.

The Prize, which will form part of the Festival’s 2017 Sharing Stories Project to encourage reluctant readers and parents to read with their children, is unique in offering guaranteed publication by Scribblers, an imprint of The Salariya Book Company, and is being supported by some of the biggest names in children’s writing and illustration.

The judging panel includes David Salariya, Founder and MD of The Salariya Book Company; Annie Ashworth, Director of The Stratford Literary Festival; the award-winning author/illustrators Nick Butterworth and Sarah McIntyre, who is also the Festival’s Guest Children’s Director for 2017, as well as Tamara Macfarlane, owner of the multi-award-winning Tales on Moon Lane Bookshop and Ashley King, illustrator and bookseller at Waterstones. The winner or winning team will also receive advice and guidance as part of the prize from the children’s literary agent Jodie Hodges of United Agents.

The Stratford Literary Festival/Salariya Book Company Children’s Picture Book Prize 2017 is open to author/illustrators or author and illustrator teams aged 16 and over based in the UK who have not previously been published and distributed online or in bookshops.

The winner will be announced in February 2017, with printed copies available in late Autumn 2017.

‘As a festival, we are passionate about championing new writers and illustrators, and about sowing the seeds of a love of reading at a young age, so a prize seemed the perfect way to do this,’ says Anne Ashworth, Director of the Stratford Literary Festival. ‘We have always been quite ground breaking as a festival, having published a YA novella and run an online interactive story in 148 characters. We also publish a book of winning stories and poems in our creative writing competition each year. This prize, however, will be more ambitious than anything we have done before.’

‘We are very excited to be working with Stratford,’ says David Salariya, founder and managing director of The Salariya Book Company. ‘To the best of our knowledge this is the first time a publisher and a festival have collaborated on a prize, and we are looking forward to seeing some very creative submissions.’

The deadline for entries is Thursday, 12th January 2017 and full details, including rules of entry, can be found at and at


For further press information, please contact:

Antonia Wilkinson Tamsin Williams, Wigwam PR Email: Email:
Tel: 07703 538554 Tel: 01483 563562 / 07939 651252

Dreams, doubles and doppelgangers

Dreams, doubles and doppelgangers  – Newcastle University designs new virtual reality author exhibition for mobile phones
The clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in - now is the perfect time to delve into the unsettling world of Catherine Storr.
Her spooky stories have been brought to life in a new exhibition experience designed especially for mobile phones.
Experts from Newcastle University’s Culture Lab have been working with Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children‘s Books, which houses the writer’s archive, to create an online experience about her work.
Catherine Storr is probably best known for her novel Marianne Dreams and the Clever Polly series. Her stories often revolve around children confronting fears and feature recurring themes of doubles, doppelgangers and dreams.
The Catherine Storr Experience is loosely based around the house Marianne draws in Marianne’s Dream. Mobile phone motion sensors let the user navigate around the 3D property, learning more about Storr’s work as they visit the different rooms and examine different items.
Kim Reynolds, Professor of Children’s Literature, in the University’s School of English, Literature, Language and Linguistics, provided the content for the experience.
She said: “Storr is an author whose work lends itself perfectly to a project like this. She trained as a doctor, worked as a psychotherapist and was married to a psychiatrist.  She understood what was going on inside the minds of children and young people - their fears and desires.
“This made her exactly the kind of subject we needed for this innovation. We wanted to do something really new, which could help audiences get inside the creative process behind great children’s books.
“Using mobile phone technology means that people anywhere in the world can explore some of the wonderful material held in the Seven Stories archives in Newcastle. The three-minute Virtual Reality experience is accompanied by additional materials based on the archives and additional objects and memories provided by Storr’s daughters.”
The experience uses experimental technology to combine animation with the idea of a guided tour, allowing you to stop at set points and hear more about objects you’re looking at.  While this technology is still in its infancy it is already proving very powerful for creating web-based experiences like this.
Tom Schofield, Lecturer in Digital Cultures at Newcastle University said: “This contributes to our ongoing work into the fusion of cultural heritage with new forms of creativity through digital technologies.
“We hope that this experimental work encourages new experiences of Catherine Storr’s books and the characters and environments and the Catherine Storr archive at Seven Stories.”
Kris McKie, Archivist at Seven Stories: the National Centre for Children’s Books said: “Working with Culture Lab on this project has given us the opportunity to use digital innovation to present our Catherine Storr archive in a completely unique and highly original way. We’re excited by the potential for future projects and collaboration.”
The experience launched online on Saturday 5 November, You can visit it at