The Ministry of Stories is a brilliant creative writing and mentoring centre in Hackney, which offers free one-to-one tuition for local children aged 8 to 18. I was a co-founder of the project in 2010, and its Art Director from inception until 2020.
Here’s the story of how it came about.
Way back in April 2008 I posted on my old blog about author Dave Eggers’ inspiring TED talk about his brilliant 826 literacy project. I asked if anyone was going to be setting up something similar in London. On the back of that post I met up with the wonderful Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne, and we chatted loosely about how a London version of 826 might work. Things pootled along gently for a while, until Lucy and Ben secured support for the project from the Arts Council, as well as seed-funding from the JJ Charitable Trust, and things suddenly stepped up a gear, particularly when author Nick Hornby, who had been thinking about setting up something similar himself, joined the gang.
More than two years later, after many, many, many meetings, and gargantuan efforts from Nick, Lucy and Ben (and a veritable host of others), we launched the Ministry of Stories on Hoxton Street in east London. (Check out some of the press coverage from the BBC and The Guardian.)