CHILDREN’S LITERATURE royalty, including Judith Kerr, Michael Morpurgo, Beverley Naidoo and Nick Sharratt, are joining us to launch a  campaign aiming to raise £85,000 to build a new permanent gallery and micro-archive to improve access to the rich and diverse children’s literature collection housed at Seven Stories. 

Authors and illustrators including Anthony Browne, Michael Foreman, Yasmeen Ismail and David McKee, poets John Agard and Grace Nichols, and playwright David Wood will  attend an exclusive reception at the October Gallery in Bloomsbury on Thursday 27th September 2018 to officially launch our ambitious new project to fund a permanent gallery and micro-archive space in the National Centre for Children’s Books.

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books said, “Raising these funds will allow us to place our world-class children’s literature collection at the heart of our visitor experience for the first time and will contribute directly to our central purpose – celebrating Britain’s role as a world leader in children’s books and the extraordinary impact of reading on the lives and aspirations of young people.

“The Gallery will be designed to support a core narrative, but will have the flexibility to change displays on a regular basis, enabling us to be much more responsive to current events. We want the body of work exhibited in the gallery to promote enquiry, exploration and debate – the livelier the better!

“The displays will reflect the full, diverse spectrum of publishing for children, from picture books to young adult fiction, exploring not only history and heritage but also current trends and future themes. Children’s books and the way we consume them is evolving and we are excited to explore the possibilities in the production of books for children and young people.”

Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s greatest living authors for children. His work spans 40 years and a career that has seen the publication of over 150 books for children, traversing wide-ranging topics that explore historical events, natural history and the environment, adventure and family life.

In 2017 Seven Stories became the custodian of Michael Morpurgo’s archive. The archive contains draft manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and related correspondence from his first publication It Never Rained (1974, Macmillan) to An Eagle in the Snow (2015, Harper Collins).   Well known and loved works include War Horse (1982, Egmont), Private Peaceful (2003, Harper Collins), On Angel’s Wings (2006, Egmont) and Shadow (2010, Harper Collins).

Speaking about the Seven Stories collection, Michael said “I have known Seven Stories for a number of years and admired the way that it has worked quietly and diligently to fill an obvious gap in our culture by founding a National children’s literature archive and by using it to make amazing exhibitions.

“Seven Stories is a most extraordinary achievement for the country and for Newcastle. It is our National Centre for Children’s Books created for the enjoyment and inspiration of children and adults, and it does this by embracing the whole children’s book world. It made sense to us that it should be the home for my stuff.”

After receiving Judith’s archive in 2009, Seven Stories launched an exhibition celebrating her life and work.

Talking about her exhibition and the importance of the Seven Stories collection, Judith said; "I was in a total tizz about it [the exhibition]. Seven Stories had all my stuff, and I thought, suppose they choose all the really dreadful ones – there are always some – and then suppose they enlarge them… Then I saw it and it was wonderful: so imaginative, beautifully done and very moving.

“Seven Stories is such a wonderful organisation and I feel confident and happy that my work will always be protected and enjoyed in such a perfect setting. Seven Stories has a bold vison for the future of its collection and this Collection gallery will enable as many people as possible to be inspired by the work held within their precious archive.”

Sarah Lawrance, Collection and Exhibitions director at Seven Stories said, “In 2008, Judith Kerr approached Seven Stories to house her archive. This extraordinary archive spans 70 years, and includes childhood paintings, drawings from her student days, and finished artwork for most of her published books, including The Tiger Who Came to Tea.”

The Collection gallery and micro-archive will be located within Seven Stories the National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle upon Tyne and will allow visitors of all ages to explore the Collection up close. Workshops, Collection-inspired discussion and facilitated archive handling sessions with children, young people and adults will take place, with opportunities for the views and experiences of visitors to contribute directly to the curation and interpretation of the Collection and displays.

Download our newsletter with further information about the Seven Stories collection.

To find out more about the campaign please contact Amanda Beckham, Fundraising & Development Manager or Sarah Lawrance, Collections Director.