26 Characters

The latest project from writers’ group 26 is a lovely new book that sees 26 characters from children’s literature reimagined by 26 writers and 26 illustrators.

26

The book is inspired by the 26 Characters exhibition at The Story Museum in Oxford, which celebrates childhood story heroes.

Writers from 26 were given photographs of children’s authors, including Julia Donaldson and Philip Pullman, dressed up as their favourite characters… They were then tasked to respond to the characters – who include Peter Pan, Just William and the Wicked Witch of the West – in the form of the poem. This poem had to be a sestude – 62 words exactly. Each writer was also given a letter of the alphabet as a starting point.

The Owl and the Pussycat. Written by Alya Al-Khatib and illustrated by Nathalie Lees
The Owl and the Pussycat. Written by Alya Al-Khatib and illustrated by Nathalie Lees

A host of illustrators were then engaged to create an accompanying image. Jean Julien, Stephen Cheetham and Rosie Scott are among those who contributed.

All of this has been put together in a book created by Design by St. The result, according to the designers, is ‘an alphabetical journey into the world of wild things, witches, wizards, monsters and magicians’.

Pod and Arrietty, written by Chirs Bird and illustrated by Pate
Pod and Arrietty, written by Chirs Bird and illustrated by Pate

Peter Pan, written by Justina Hart and illustrated by Maria Corte
Peter Pan, written by Justina Hart and illustrated by Maria Corte

Wild Thing, written by Elen Lewis and illustrated by Brett Ryder
Wild Thing, written by Elen Lewis and illustrated by Brett Ryder

Till Eulenspiegel, written by Tessa Sheridan and illustrated by Sam Brewster
Till Eulenspiegel, written by Tessa Sheridan and illustrated by Sam Brewster

Lady Bracknell, written by Neil Baker and illustrated by Jean Julien
Lady Bracknell, written by Neil Baker and illustrated by Jean Julien

Just William, written by Chris Martin and illustrated by Sergio Membrillas
Just William, written by Chris Martin and illustrated by Sergio Membrillas

The 26 Characters book is available here priced at £5.

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  • Lin Sagovsky November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It’s a nice article, but actually the brief was not to respond to the characters, but to the well-known children’s writer we were each allocated, dressed up as his/her favourite character. It can make quite a difference if you are reading the sestudes without having seen the photo each one relates to!

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