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26 Characters: Cry havoc and unleash the badgers and witches!

I’ve been thrilled to be part of the latest collaborative venture between writers’ collective 26 and the Oxford Story Museum, called 26 Characters. For this fantastic exhibition, the museum asked famous authors to choose their favourite character from children’s literature and pose for a portrait dressed as that figure.

As a teaser, see if you can identify this well-loved writer getting all wicked and westerly:

For our part, we writers were each given a letter of the alphabet and asked to write a sestude (a 62-word poem) beginning with this letter, about one of the photos in the museum.

This project combined three of my favourite things in the world: children’s literature, poetry and dressing up. How could I resist? I was given the fantastic illustrator Ted Dewan, who posed with his daughter Pandora as Pod and Arrietty, from Mary Norton’s The Borrowers. They also gave me the letter X to begin my poem with, the rogues, but I managed to find a way to get it in there.

We were also asked to pose as our own favourite children’s character, and I too was a witch. The Worst Witch, aka Mildred Hubble. Here I am after yet another failed potion class, and you can read about my love for this character on the museum blog here:

The exhibition has been featured in Design Week and the Huffington Post, and is on at the museum until 2nd November 2014. For more information on this and other amazing exhibits, see the Oxford Story Museum’s website.

A wonderful way for children to discover books, and adults to remember why they fell in love with reading in the first place.


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