Seven Stories – the National treasure of Tyneside – is 10 years old. The Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, Councillor George Pattison will cut Seven Stories’ official birthday cake in celebration.

Copyright Quentin Blake 2015

On Wednesday 19th August 2015 it will be 10 years since Seven Stories first opened the doors of its specially converted Victorian warehouse in Newcastle and created a new home for British children’s literature. Seven Stories took a fresh and pioneering approach to bringing books and stories to life through lively exhibitions, playful performances and learning programmes that together aim to inspire a love of books and reading across generations.  10 years on over 2 million people have enjoyed and experienced Seven Stories’ exhibitions and activities.

“Seven Stories is unique in Britain” says Kate Edwards, who has led Seven Stories as Chief Executive since 2007, “we set out to raise the profile and appreciation of children’s literature in Britain by celebrating the talented authors, illustrators and makers of children’s books.  A children’s book is work of art that we all can own, and for most children it will be the first experience of the art and story that they encounter. Seven Stories was founded to showcase and celebrate the important contribution that children’s books make to our cultural life in Britain”.

In 10 years Seven Stories has founded a national children’s literature archive, collecting the original manuscripts and artwork of authors and illustrators from the 1930s to the present day. Its unique Collection represents the work of over 200 authors and illustrators including Judith Kerr (creator of The Tiger who Came to Tea), Enid Blyton and Philip Pullman.  “We draw on this amazing archive to make beautiful and interactive exhibitions” says Kate, “with original artwork and manuscripts displayed alongside playful exhibits that invite children of all ages to step into story, to make their own and to discover how the favourite books came into being”.  Seven Stories has curated 27 original exhibitions, many have gone on to tour across the UK, taking Seven Stories’ work to towns and cities in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. In 2012, Seven Stories was formally granted National status by Arts Council England, in recognition of the national significance of its work.

“Our learning and outreach activity is one of the most important things that we do” Kate goes on to say.  ”All children deserve the chance to experience books and stories as an essential part of their childhood, and we work with schools and community partners across the North East  to inspire children, young people, parents, families and teachers to choose, enjoy and share books together”.  Seven Stories has worked with 200,000 children and parents in schools and communities, and was voted Britain’s favourite Education Project in 2013 by National Lottery players.

“We are very excited about our 10th birthday year” says Kate.  “It was kicked off with a visit from the Duchess of Cornwall in January, and we have just re-opened following a £3/4m refurbishment, which our visitors tell us that they are really enjoying”.

As a birthday gift Sir Quentin Blake, a long time supporter and outgoing patron of the charity, has kindly donated a brand new illustration. Sir Quentin says “It has been my great pleasure to support Seven Stories over the years, and I have been full of admiration at its journey from an idea to an important national institution that has  given children’s literature a home, and is changing the lives of so many children and families".

Seven Stories will host a visit from The Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, Councillor George Pattison on the 19th August at 11.30am, at which he will help us to celebrate our birthday and will meet families visiting on the day.

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For images and enquiries please contact:

Kathryn Row Programming and Marketing Manager, Seven Stories

E: Kathryn.row@sevenstories.org.uk

T: 0845 271 0777 ext 217