A Special Announcement from a Junior Story Minister

Co-founded by Penguin Random House author Nick Hornby in 2010, Ministry of Stories is a creative writing and mentoring space for economically and socially disadvantaged young people aged 8-18.

Ministry of Stories helps young people discover and realise their own creative potential through innovative creative writing programmes, including after-school writing workshops. By making writing fun and accessible they help young people find their voices and unleash their imaginations, building their confidence, self-respect and communication skills.

Penguin Random House UK is working with Ministry of Stories over the next three years, suporting their national expansion through both funding and expertise, and inspiring and mobilising our colleagues and authors to give their time to help and fundraise.

Together, our goal is to help close the creativity gap for 7,500 children across the UK by 2018.

To find out more about our partnership with Ministry of Stories, see here.

By Michelle, Age 10, Junior Story Minister at Ministry of Stories

Dear Penguin Random House,

My name is Michelle and I love reading books and I think they can take you into an imaginary land full of fun and joyfulness. When I feel sad I read a book and it cheers me up!

I love writing, it is fun. I agreed to share a bit about me with everyone at Penguin Random House so you can learn more about me, and about Ministry of Stories. So this is me being interviewed by Ela, aged 11, who is another member of the after school club.

Ela: What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

Me: Doing creative, arty things. When you draw, it tells you stories, but without words. Of course, with writing you have words, but it’s all being creative and telling a story. But when I can’t think of ideas and get creative, I might watch TV.

Ela: Do you ever find it hard to get started when writing a story?

Me: Yes, I get writer’s block, because I need inspiration to write, and I might just get stuck. But then I have a brainstorm. If I see something interesting, or inspirational, it might give me an idea. If I find something inspirational I make it my own.

Ela: How easy do you find it to say what you’re thinking or feeling?

Me: If it’s a private feeling, I might not be that open, but it depends on the question. At the moment I feel happy!

Ela: Do you find it easier to write down thoughts or feeling, or say them?

Me: If it’s a bad feeling I might write it down, but if I have no paper then I just whisper my feelings.

Ela: How can you tell if someone is confident, and what helps you feel more confident?

Me: I am confident and I love art and I can open out. I may feel nervous about sharing, depending on who I am sharing with.  People supporting me makes me feel more confident. When someone’s there for me and they tell me, you can do this. And I feel brave, it makes me feel confident, and I tell myself ‘I can do this’. Ministry of Stories makes me feel more confident, it really does, and it helps me be myself.

Ela: Who has inspired you to write?

Me: Everyone can inspire me, but the person who mostly inspires me is my parents because they’re really supportive.

 Ela: Are you proud of your work?

Me: I’m really proud of my work in writing, because it can help me be myself and not follow the crowd, and I really like my work what I’ve done. Here is a piece of my writing from the Ministry of Stories after-school club (letter writing project):

Dear new future friend,

My name is Michelle. I’m a girl. What is your name?

I love doing art and gaming. I am writing to you to be your new friend! Do you love drawing? I love it! Do you have a pet? I have two birds called Budie (the boy bird) and Bella the girl bird. They are new birds. Budgie is their type of bird.

In London our queen is Queen Elizabeth. Why does America not have a king or queen?

3 words to describe me is: Daring mysterious gentle me!!!

What about you?

Future friend Michelle

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