The Seven Stories Collection
Britain has a wonderful heritage of writing and illustration for children – from Alice in Wonderland to The Gruffalo, British children’s books are among the best known and most widely read in the world. Our aim at Seven Stories is to create a national archive of modern and contemporary children’s literature, which is not generally represented in the collections of other major institutions like the British Library.
Our focus is not just the finished work, but all that goes into the making of a book – roughs, drafts, dummy books, correspondence and other papers. Today, the Seven Stories collection includes original artwork and manuscripts by around eighty authors and illustrators, including Philip Pullman, Robert Westall, Edward Ardizzone and Judith Kerr, and about 30,000 books. Seven Stories believes these materials have a unique educational and inspirational value. We aim to make the collection accessible not only to researchers but to young people and their families, through our exhibitions and learning programmes.
"Literary archives of all kinds have an immense value and fascination, by virtue of the way they combine what Philip Larkin called ‘magical’ as well as ‘meaningful’ elements. Manuscripts relating to children’s literature have an added value, too: they become the means by which children at the start of their reading lives are lured into the world of writing which has the potential to sustain them for ever after."
For the past month we have had Austrailian author and illustrator Briony Stewart with us at Seven Stories. Read about her experience of visiting the Seven Stories Collection here.
Artwork for The Little Train © Edward Ardizzone Estate, 1973