Seven Stories' Beverley Naidoo's archive inspires Arts Award project at The Academy Shotton Hall.

Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books and The Academy at Shotton Hall will come together to celebrate an essential modern classic – Journey to Jo’burg by author Beverley Naidoo. 

In an event to celebrate 30 years of the award-winning title, author Beverley Naidoo will meet County Durham students from year 6 and 7 to talk about Journey to Jo’burg.  She will then share the stage with The Academy at Shotton Hall's year 8 drama club who will perform their performance piece, inspired by the story and Beverley Naidoo’s archive materials. Year 7 students will also share their Arts Award work about Journey to Jo'burg.  The Academy at Shotton Hall underpins all their creative work carried out in the classroom with the Arts Award scheme which aims to inspire independent learning and inject exciting platforms for learning.

Kathryn Ackley, Director of Community Arts at Shotton Hall says:

The Diverse Voices Project and cross arts partnership between Seven Stories and The Academy at Shotton Hall has implemented a significant change in how we, as a school, research, plan, teach and evidence arts learning within Key Stage 2 and 3. The Academy already recognise the power of arts and the impact arts has for individual students however, this project allowed us the freedom to explore new and innovate ways to produce creative work.  The project has been enriched by high quality arts experiences, students meeting and speaking with Beverley Naidoo author of Journey to Jo Burg, having the chance to perform at a local theatre venue East Durham College and be introduced to archive material relating to the book.   This is an exciting project that has empowered arts teaching and learning within our school community.”

Beverley Naidoo grew up in South Africa under apartheid and her first children’s book, Journey to Jo’burg, was banned in South Africa until 1991. Naidoo has gone on to have an impressive career, writing many award-winning books for children often exploring issues of racism, prejudice and diversity.

Seven Stories is delighted to acquire Beverley’s archive which adds richness and diversity to the museum’s collection.  Journey to Jo’burg was also included in the Diverse Voices Top 50 book list that launched in October 2014 which celebrated cultural diversity in children’s literature.  The National Centre will continue to use the archive to enrich its award-winning learning programme as well as preserving an invaluable resource for academics and enthusiasts to access.

Debbie Beeks, Learning and Participation Manager says,

“Journey to Jo’burg and Beverley Naidoo’s archive are a valuable gift to the region and the nation. The partnership work with The Academy at Shotton Hall has revealed how relevant the story of apartheid is to young people today. Beverley’s archive is full of research material, drafts and letters from school students. Unearthing the story through this material has been an inspiration to students.”


Media Contact

For images, quotes or interviews please contact:

Hannah Lambert, Programming and Marketing Assistant

Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle. NE1 2PQ.

T: 0845 271 0777 ext. 223


Notes to Editor:

Beverley Naidoo

Beverley Naidoo was born and brought up in Johannesburg, South Africa during the apartheid. After leaving university in Johannesburg she was detained without trial and later went into exile in Britain where she studied at the University of York, worked as a teacher, education adviser and writer. She received her PhD from the University of Southampton for research into white teenagers’ responses to literature and racism.  Beverley wrote her first book Journey to Jo’burg which was banned in South Africa until 1991, whilst in exile in England.  For more information visit Beverley's website here.


Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Piet Grobler, Frances Lincoln Children's books, 2011

S is for South Africa, illustrated by Prodeepta Das, Frances Lincoln Children's books, 2010

Call of the Deep, with illustrations by Yishan Li, Barrington Stoke, 2008

Burn My Heart, Puffin, 2007

Web of Lies, Penguin, 2004

Baba's Gift, with Maya Naidoo, illustrations by Karin Littlewood, Puffin, 2003

The Great Tug of War, with illustrations by Piet Grobler, Macmillan Education, 2001

Out of Bounds, Puffin, 2001

The Other Side of Truth, Puffin, 2000

Where is Zami?, with illustrations by Petra Röhr-Rouendaal, Macmillan Education, 1998

Global Tales: Stories from Many Cultures, co-editor with Chris Donovan and Alun Hicks, Longman, 1997

No Turning Back, Viking, 1995

Trouble for Letang and Julie, with illustrations by Petra Röhr-Rouendaal, Longman, 1994

Letang's New Friend, with illustrations by Petra Röhr-Rouendaal, Longman, 1994

Letang and Julie Save the Day, with illustrations by Petra Röhr-Rouendaal, Longman, 1994

Through Whose Eyes?: Exploring Racism: Reader, Text and Context, Trentham Books, 1992

Chain of Fire, Collins, 1989

Free as I Know, editor, Bell & Hyman, 1987

Journey to Jo'burg, Longman, 1985

Censoring Reality: An Examination of Books on South Africa, ILEA Centre for Anti-Racist Education and British Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, 1985


2001: Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Young Adult Fiction), The Other Side of Truth, shortlist

2000: Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Silver Award), The Other Side of Truth, 9-11 years category

2000: Carnegie Medal, The Other Side of Truth

1999: Arts Council Writers' Award, The Other Side of Truth

1985: The Other Award, Journey to Jo'burg

Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books

Seven Stories is the only place in Britain dedicated to the art of children’s books and the joy of reading, and one of just a few such places in the world. Our work is enjoyed by over 150,000 people every year.

Everything we do aims to inspire children and grown-ups to be curious, imaginative and creative. We strive to ensure that people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can take part to enjoy a lifetime of reading for pleasure.

Our home is a carefully converted Victorian warehouse in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. We opened in 2005 and our seven floors house galleries for exhibitions, performances and creative spaces, a specialist children’s bookshop and a café.

Seven Stories is widely recognised for our abilities and achievements. We have established an important collection of artwork, manuscripts and archives of Britain’s most acclaimed writers and illustrators for children from 1930s to the present day. We bring this unique treasure trove to life through playful and immersive exhibitions, an entertaining and informative public events programme and research opportunities.

Seven Stories was awarded National status by Arts Council England in 2012 in recognition of the significance of our Collection and its high standard of care, and the excellent way that we engage with our visitors and users. We were also awarded with a National Lottery Award in September 2013 after being voted the UK’s favourite education project. 

The Academy at Shotton Hall

The Academy At Shotton Hall is a secondary school in Peterlee, County Durham, England. It is a school for 11-16 year olds and is a specialist Performing Arts College.  The Academy At Shotton Hall was judged outstanding by Ofsted in July 2013.  Visit their website here.

Diverse Voices Book Award

The award was jointly founded by Frances Lincoln Ltd and Seven Stories - National Centre for Children’s Books in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001). The prize was for a manuscript that celebrates cultural diversity in the widest possible sense, either in terms of its story or in terms of the ethnic and cultural origins of its author.  There were four awards and Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln has commissioned or published nine books by the writers who entered the award.

The Diverse Voices Top 50 List was a celebration of the award and compiled by a distinguished independent panel of experts to include books for all children, from birth to teens, living in the UK today. Books published since 1950 to the present day were considered and chosen because they represented Britain’s eclectic cultural heritage. For more information and the full list of titles click here. 

Diverse Voices project work

Seven Stories worked with a number of organisations nationwide— Gem Arts; Discover, London; The Reader Organisation in Liverpool and New Writing North—to engage children, young people and families with the Diverse Voices Top 50 Book List.  The book titles inspired creative and imaginative art, poetry and discussion from the participants; the results of which were included in a thought provoking exhibition at Seven Stories in 2014-2015.  An extensive learning resource was created for schools to download and complement their literacy work.

For more information, click here.