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Nick Hornby opens The Ministry of Stories

  • Date: 19 November 2010
  • Area: London
Child reads book

Taking part in a workshop at The Ministry of Stories. Credit: © Yemisi Blake

Author Nick Hornby officially launched new literacy project The Ministry of Stories in Hoxton, East London yesterday.

Inspired by the 826 movement in the United States, The Ministry of Stories aims to engage local young people with reading and writing through its free developmental writing and literacy programmes run by expert volunteers and writing mentors.

The project, the first of its kind in the UK, is housed in Hoxton Street Monster Supplies - an imaginative retail space which stocks inspirational items such as Fang Floss and Zombie Mints.

The Ministry of Stories, which is supported by Arts Council England through National Lottery Grants for the arts funding and is seed funded by the JJ Charitable Trust, has long-term ambitions to improve young people's literacy across the country.

Author Nick Hornby, co-founder and director of the project, said: 'The aim of the Ministry of Stories has been to create a space where young people can gain free workshops and one-to-one mentoring with writers, artists and teachers - all of whom are offering their time, skills and talent on a volunteer basis. Working closely with local schools to support the fantastic work that teachers are already doing, the Ministry of Stories is a place to inspire young people and encourage them to engage with story-telling at every level.'

Hornby and co-founders and directors Ben Payne and Lucy Macnab have been supported by Roddy Doyle, founder of the 826-inspired project Fighting Words in Dublin and a number of high-profile ambassadors including a dedicated Ministry of Stories Advisory Panel.

Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature at Arts Council England said: 'I am really delighted that the Arts Council is funding this project. Writing is at the heart of so much artistic production, from screenplays to song lyrics to pure poetry. It's crucial that young people can be passionate about writing at the same time as being challenged to write to the highest standards. 

'It is brilliant that so many experienced writers are offering to work alongside the next generation to build their skills. There are not enough opportunities for young people to develop their writing outside school and this project is one that will create a place that can be a real inspiration for new writers - somewhere that will be full of their own energy and imagination.'

Find out more information about The Ministry of Stories, including how you can become a volunteer writing mentor and support the project, at: www.ministryofstories.org