An interesting article about writer Nick Hornby and attitudes to writing. Hornby who has written a number of successful novels including, ‘Fever Pitch’ and ‘About a Boy’ discusses the importance of reading and writing. He explains why he has started the centre and that “he was not focused on producing the next generation of writers as much as he was on improving literacy.” Hornby presents some sobering statistics such as “80% of the prisoners in this country have the writing skills of an 11-year-old” and “if you’re unemployed at the age of 30 it’s likely because you have very low literacy skills.” Here is a little of the article:
British author Nick Hornby has helped to start a creative writing centre for children in east London behind the facade of a novelty shop for kids.
Just beyond a row of old-fashioned shelves bearing jars of Human Snot, Zombie Mints and other much-needed supplies for feeding active imaginations at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, lies the real purpose of the shop: A place dedicated to helping children discover the magic of writing for themselves.
The centre, called the Ministry of Stories, was inspired by the success of American novelist Dave Egger’s 826 Valencia creative writing school for kids in San Francisco, which masqueraded as a supply shop for pirates when it opened because zoning restrictions limited the space to retail use.
Ministry co-founders Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne, were so taken with the Eggers idea that they applied for permission to convert what had been an office space in London’s Hoxton neighbourhood into a writing centre for 11- to 18 year-olds using the same concept as a guideline.
Hornby has written about how grim and dull the experience of writing can be, but the excitement of the children on a visit to the Ministry from St Monica’s primary school just down the road was palpable at today’s opening.
Read the rest on the TVNZ site.