Pun and games at home for literacy

30th July 2004 at 01:00
A new centre to promote literacy among children will use a deliberate misspelling in its name.

The first home for children's literature will open in a converted warehouse in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2005 and the seven-storey development will be called "Seven Stories".

Mary Briggs, chief executive, said the pun highlighted the importance of literacy.

"We wanted to indicate story-telling, because it's at the core of what we do," she said.

"It is said that all the stories in the world are based on seven basic stories."

The seven stories are: man against nature, man against man, man against the environment, man against technology, man against the supernatural, man against himself, and man against God.

Ms Briggs is trying to raise pound;750,000, to build a collection of manuscripts and other memorabilia from authors to show the process of writing and storytelling. So far, she has acquired manuscripts and reminder notes handwritten by Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, and the original artwork for the Noel Streatfield classic, Ballet Shoes. She also has the personal archives of Kaye Webb, editor of Puffin Books from 1961 to 1979, including commissioning letters and first editions.

Many children's authors have already lent their support. Pat Hutchins, writer and illustrator said: "Anything that makes people aware that children's literature isn't second-rate is a good thing."

Carol Fox, of the National Association for the Teaching of English, said that recognition for children's literature is long overdue.

She said: "Harry Potter showed that children's literature can still enthuse readers. This centre acknowledges that children's literature is an area of national excellence. It says, look how it's grown, developed and flourished."

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