The most enticing free entertainment in London can be found until November 10 in the Royal Festival Hall's Ballroom, transformed by pupils from six London schools and designer Sophie Layton into a installation to display children's writing on film, CD, story collection boxes and photograph albums. At the centre of it all is the Poetry Library's children's collection.
The Imaginarium launches Ballroom Interactive, part of a five-year education programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. It is inspired by the Imagine children's literature festival at the Purcell Room (October 25-30). Visitors to Imagine will be able to browse through the work of authors such as "reader-in-residence" Catherine R Johnson and Quentin Blake (above), who will be drawing on stage alongside poet Matthew Sweeney. See www.rfh.org.uk imagine for programme.
The creators of the Imaginarium come from four primaries (Deptford Park, with poets John Hegley and Leah Thorn and film-makers Milly Ellis and Kevin Griffiths; Gallion's Mount, with Catherine R Johnson; Stockwell, with poet Valerie Bloom and artist Sue Murdoch; and Sudbourne, with storyteller Jan Blake and sound recordist John Fortis) and two secondaries (Kidbrooke, with poet Dorothea Smartt and photographer Chloe Howley; and Thomas Tallis, with novelist Millie Murray and artist Liz Sutcliffe).
Head for the Baltic contemporary arts centre in Gateshead by October 19 for a preview of its library and archive. After that date, it will be open for reference by appointment only. An extra attraction is the chance to browse copies of Artists Books in the current exhibition. The Reading Room, created by Baltic's artist-in-residence Alec Finlay, is also open only until October 19, showcasing community projects that have resulted in books. These include Verse Chain, about ways to work with the Japanese poetry forms haiku and renga - worth its pound;10 cover price for Ken Cockburn's epigraph: "Life's too shortto be foreverwriting haiku".
Tel: 0191 478 1810; www.balticmill. com.
There are places on New Writing North's three-day course on writing for radio (November1, 2, 15) and its four-day course for writers working on or revising a first novel (November 1, 8, 15 and 22). Both are in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, with the novel development course to be repeated in Darlington in spring 2004. Tel: 0191 232 9991; firstname.lastname@example.org.