All posts by Anne

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, everyone! May 2018 bring you what you want, what you need and most of all, what you try for –  be that a fitter body, an enquiring mind or even a finished manuscript! Here in the Shed I’m already at work on my new year’s resolutions – one of which is to meet my July deadline for delivery of the new book (from which I’ll be posting the odd work-in-progress extract to those who receive to the newsletter, so click on to subscribe if you’d like to know more); plus the completion of some other plans that I hope to develop shortly.

Some of them are musical – and fans of #Storytime should be able to see me and the band perform some of the new material themed around A POCKETFUL OF CROWS sometime in Spring, as well as being able to buy the new #Storytime CD from venues (and of course, from the website).

I’m also judging the Betty Trask Prize again this year, so expect lots of excited updates (and lots of new books on my Goodreads page).

Meanwhile, love, joy and peace for 2018: and here’s the view from the Shed today, so keep warm, live in hope, and above all,  happy reading!

Also: How terrific is this? Bonnie (my brilliant illustrator for A POCKETFUL OF CROWS) is launching this challenge to herself, to post a new crow drawing every Monday for the whole year. She needs all the support she can get, so please send your crow-related stories (max 600 words) to I’ll start you off with one of mine, first written live on Twitter…

Week 1:

The Crow Who Swallowed The Moon.

There once was a crow who delighted in bright and shining objects. A copper coin; some broken glass: a spoon from the castle kitchens. Jewellery, when she could find it; a diamond pin from a lady’s hair; a ring from a dressing-room table where a maid had left the window ajar. The crow would take these things and hide them, high in the boughs of an ancient oak, and there she would perch on a nearby branch and admire all the things she had stolen.

One night, the crow saw the full moon reflected in a water-trough. She flew down to collect it, but every time she tried to pick up the moon’s reflection, ripples obscured the silver disk, and it vanished into the water.

But the crow was not deterred. She told herself that the shining disk must be somewhere in the trough, and so she set herself the task of drinking all the water. It took all night; and by the time she had emptied the water-trough, the moon had set, and the rosy dawn was shivering on the cloudline.

The crow looked at the empty trough. “I must have swallowed the disk,” she said. Disappointed and dismayed, she told her friends, the other crows, hoping for their sympathy. But they all laughed and mocked her. “That was only the moon,” they said. “You fool! To think you believed you had swallowed it!”

The crow, feeling foolish, fled to her tree to escape the sound of their laughter. There, she sat on her favourite branch and looked over her treasures. But the coin, the ring, the silver spoon, the pin, the piece of broken glass – none of these things could compare with the moon, reflected in the water-trough.

Below her, on the ground, she could hear the other crows laughing and mocking her. “What a fool!” the crows all cried. “She really thinks she swallowed the Moon!” The crow felt very miserable.

Just then a bluebird flew onto the branch. “What’s wrong?” she asked. The crow told her tale. The bluebird listened attentively.

“But how do you know they’re right?” she said at last, when the crow fell silent. “They never saw you swallow the moon. They could all be mistaken.”

This had never occurred to the crow, who believed in the rule of the majority.

“Do you really think so?” she said.

The bluebird, who was known throughout the Nine Worlds as an optimist and a dreamer, said: “Why not? If you believe it, who’s to say that you are wrong?”

And so the crow, feeling much cheered, sat on her branch and waited for night. Below her, the other crows still mocked: “Where is the moon? Where is the moon?” But there was no moon that night: the clouds were thick and heavy.

“The little bluebird was right,” thought the crow. “In my haste, I swallowed the moon.” And though she was pleased, she felt anxious, too, for all the nocturnal creatures for whom the moon meant life or death.

“I must return it to the sky,” she said. “But how?”

Above her, the clouds raced and tumbled.

“Dogs howl at the moon,” thought the crow. “Perhaps I can try to do the same.” And, opening her beak, she began to croak as loudly as she could, to drive the moon back into the sky.

For a long time, nothing happened. Then, just for a moment, through the clouds, the moon came out and winked at her.

The crow was very much relieved. “I did it!” she said. “I saved the moon!”

And every night after that, although the other crows still laughed and mocked, the moon would show her gratitude; and every night would shine upon the treasures that the crow had kept: the coins, the ring, the diamond pin; the spoons; the piece of broken glass.


Christmas and the New Year

Authors don’t really get holidays as everyone else understands the term. On some level or another, an author is always thinking about the next book, and the next one, even though they may not actually be writing it – and as it happens, I’m doing both: I always find this time of year unexpectedly good for ideas, possibly because I rather enjoy escaping to the Shed when everyone else is baking, going to parties and buying Christmas presents. So shoot me: I’m a hermit. And if you’ve sent me a Christmas card, thank you, and I’m sorry (again) for not sending one in return: I seem to have forgotten (again) to get organized in time for Christmas.

On the plus side, however: I’ve finished the edits to the new novella (a selkie story, based on Child Ballad 113, due out next October), which Bonnie will be illustrating. I’ve copy-edited THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI, which should be hitting the bookshops in spring, and I’m 50 pages or so into a new book about Vianne Rocher and Lansquenet, which I’m calling THE STRAWBERRY THIEF, and which I’ve promised to deliver a first draft of by July 2018. No pressure there, then. Oh, yes: and I’m co-writing an original musical with the lovely Howard Goodall: (working title, UNBREAKABLE; excitement level 11/10), a project still in its infancy, but too much fun to hide from you all. Watch this space for more as it happens, or subscribe to my newsletter, where I’ll be posting updates and pictures of various projects as they develop, as well as holding regular giveaways and competitions.

Meanwhile, the Storytime Band and I are building a tour schedule for 2018, during which we’ll be playing some new stuff, some of it from A POCKETFUL OF CROWS. I’ll be posting the dates, as well as tour dates for TESTAMENT OF LOKI, as soon as the Christmas juggling act is over: my daughter is here for the holidays, and I’ve promised not to stay in the Shed all the time, so in between movies, and mince pies, and presents, and such, I’ll try to keep on top of it all. My excellent PA retired last year, and I’ve been trying to do her job as well as my own (which is why my efficiency is reduced, though not my enthusiasm). I’m relying on you all to tell me if there’s something I’m not doing right: website maintenance isn’t my forte, and I don’t want you to feel neglected. So –

Merry Christmas to you all, and a happy, healthy 2018: and here’s a picture of the Kid, hair newly-purple, helping us to trim the tree: a tradition we’ve managed to maintain every year since 1993…


And here it is, Hallowe’en, bringing with it A POCKETFUL OF CROWS, which has already has tremendous write-ups from reviewers and bloggers. Thank you so much if you were among the many readers and reviewers who wrote to me to express their thoughts on the book: you make my day every time, and I’m touched by your love and enthusiasm.

Bonnie sends her thanks, too: it’s her first experience as an illustrator, and it’s been a bit of a learning-curve for her, but her illustrations are lovely, and add so much to the story. She is currently selling special prints, signed by both of us, on her website right here, so if you like them, do please check them out.

As it happens, this book has been a first for me, too: I’m narrating the audiobook (here I am in the studio) – so if you’d like me to read you a four-hour bedtime story, this may be your opportunity…

Otherwise, I’m working hard on the next couple of projects – including a musical project which I’m really excited about. More about this as it develops, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Till then, here’s a Hallowe’en picture of Vlad, looking effortlessly seasonal…

Storysong: A Pocketful of Crows

The Travelling Girl.

Long ago and far away, there lived a girl of the Travelling Folk.

Her people lived in the woods, and the glens, and had not a name between them. They lived free of care, and when they chose, could travel into a bird or a hare, and live wild, watching the Folk from afar.

The travelling girl loved to watch the Folk. Their ways; their lives; their villages. As a vixen, she would rob their store-rooms and their henhouses, and linger in their doorways, growing ever more curious. As a thrush, she would sing by their doors, bringing them luck and prosperity.

One day, when the blood was hot in her heart, she saw a young man of the Folk riding through the village. He was a fine young nobleman, and travelling into a hawk, she followed him to his castle. Then as a tabby cat, the girl followed into his bedroom, and watched him, purring, as he slept, and very soon, she was in love.

The others of the travelling folk tried to warn her that nothing good could come of this. But the girl was stubborn, and would not hear.

Travelling into a cat, or a dog, she sought the young man’s attention.

Travelling into a songbird, she awoke him at dawn every morning.

And then at last, in despair, she broke the most ancient rule of the travelling folk, and came to him one night as herself. Naked, soft and brown, she came to the young man as he slept, and gave herself to him, heart and soul, and finally was content.

The young man was bewitched and enthralled. For a month, he and the travelling girl were together every night. Every day, she came to him from the woods and the mountains, and told him the tales of her people.

“But what shall I call you?” he would say, for the travelling folk have no names.

“A named thing is a tamed thing,” she would reply, and soar into the sky as a lark, and come down laughing and filled with love.

“Very well, I shall name you,” he said, and whispered a secret name into her ear, so that the girl was tamed and kept to human form by the love of her man.

For a while, the girl did not care. But once the summer had run its course, she found her love growing distant. He started to miss their meetings in the woods and in the glen. And then, one day, she saw him with a girl in the village: a milk-white, blue-eyed, buttercup girl with not an ounce of wildness.

The travelling girl was stricken to the heart. But she could no longer travel now, or try to escape her sorrow.

And so she went to the oldest and wisest of the travelling folk: who lived as an ancient hawthorn tree at the edge of a fairy glen. And she begged for the return of her heart, and wept for the loss of her powers.

The ancient of the hawthorn tree took her time in responding.

Finally, she told the girl: “The only way is to take back your name, and to silence him forever. And then you must dance upon his grave nine times in the moonlight, and then your gifts will be returned, and you will be free.”

And so, the girl made a powerful charm, and bound it with silk and starlight.  With secret runes she sealed it, and carved it into a river-stone, and placed it under the pillow of her faithless lover.

And when he was dead and buried in the village graveyard, she danced on his grave in the moonlight, and travelled into a snowy owl, and flew away, screeching, into the night; and was never seen or named again – not by the Folk, or by anyone.


A Pocketful of Crows

I was the madcap Queen of May

Daughter of the wild, wild rose,

I was the hare, the fallow deer

Upon the heath, the flight of crows.


I was the child of summer’s day

I was the child of blackthorn spring

I was the child of autumn moon

I was the child of Winter King.


And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

A pocketful of promises, a crown of summer rose

And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful of crows


You were the son of noblemen

Your line, my love, was old and proud

You wore the crest of your father’s kin

You had a name, and you spoke it loud.


Mine was the colour of the dawn

Mine was the sound of falling snow

Mine was the dance of circling stars

A name that you could never know.

And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

A pocketful of promises, a crown of summer rose

And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful of crows.


And so you named and bound me fast

In love, you said, love that would last

As long as you drew breath, you said

A love as strong as Death, you said.


Your love it lasted till the rose

Had dropped its petals, one-by-one.

It lasted with the cuckoo’s song

It lasted almost summerlong.


And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

A pocketful of promises, a crown of summer rose

And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

And you gave me a pocketful, a pocketful of crows.


And then you found another girl

With hair like silk and skin like pearl

You gave her peaches, ripe and sweet

You laid your fortune at her feet.


And so I said: “Take back my name

Let me be wild and free once more.”

But I could not give back my name

Until the world was free of yours.


And so I took a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

A pocketful of vengeance, a crown of thorn and rose

And I gave you a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

And I gave you a pocketful, a pocketful of crows.


And then I danced upon the green

Around the winter hawthorn tree

And I became the Carrion Queen

Alive, and merciless, and free


And then I went into the sky

And in a snowy owl, I flew

And ate the hearts of faithless men

Of faithless men, my love, like you.


And I gave you a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

And I gave you a pocketful, a pocketful of crows

And I gave you a pocketful, a pocketful, a pocketful

And I gave you a pocketful, a pocketful of crows.


CROWS publication week

Publication for A POCKETFUL OF CROWS is almost upon us, and lots of events are happening up and down the country.  Do check the Events page to see what’s happening near you!

Competition time! Tatty Devine are offering one of their fabulous Crows necklaces as part of the launch of the book! Enter here – but you’d better be quick: I want to win it, too!


Also, did you know that I’m narrating the audiobook? If you want a bedtime story from me, this is your chance…

Meanwhile, Bonnie is now selling prints of her fabulous illustrations via her website! We’ll both be signing a limited number of these, so check them out before they disappear!

Hello, autumn.

Now comes the season of autumn leaves, and morning frosts, and darkening nights. It’s also the season of editorial notes, which means a certain amount of personal anguish; hard choices; difficult decisions regarding the forthcoming book (THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI, out next year), and lots and lots of cutting.  I find that a lot of the time I go at my manuscript with a machete, slashing and cutting like a pro, only to find that my word count has actually somehow managed to grow – but editing is essential work, and requires more than just one person to get right. So, here’s a big shout-out to my editor Gillian Redfearn at Gollancz; her assistant Beth, and all the readers who worked behind the scenes to help make this book as good as it could be. Thanks for all your sterling work, and know that when I hate you, that means you’re doing a damn fine job.  Anything that still doesn’t work is now my responsibility. Meanwhile, by request, as a follow-on from my popular #TenThings series on Twitter, here are ten things about editing, that all writers, published and unpublished, need to know…

Ten Things About Editing

However much self-editing you do, at some point you’re going to need a competent editor. But before that…

  1. Allow time – at least 3 months if you can – before editing your work. You need to be as objective as possible.
  2. Read your work aloud as you go. It’s the most valuable editing tool there is.
  3. Change the font when starting a final edit – you’ll be amazed at how much more detail you’ll notice.
  4. Your dialogue will be improved immeasurably if you remove all or most of the adverbs, and many of the dialogue tags.
  5. Editing is hard work. You only have so much attention-span. Don’t exhaust it by doing too much.
  6. Listen to your instincts. You’ll know when something doesn’t feel right. And if you notice, so will your readers. Do give it time though. If you finish a draft and immediately set to work again, you may not really be able to see what needs doing.
  7. Editing isn’t an afterthought. It’s an essential part of the process. And yes, EVERYONE needs it. Even you.
  8. Most books will need editing a number of times. That’s life. Live with it.
  9. Identify your bad habits and the words or phrases you tend to overuse. Deal with them before someone else does.
  10. Finally: there’s a point at which all editing ceases to be useful. This is the point at which we all need to learn to let go. You can’t keep on it forever. It may not ever be perfect; just make it as good as it can be.


Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent most of my life in one school or another, but September always makes me feel energetic, full of verve and with a curious impulse to buy stationery of all kinds; which I guess is a good thing, because this autumn is set to be very, very busy. To celebrate, I’m sending out a signed copy of DIFFERENT CLASS to Komal, from Karachi, who won my book selfies competition: thank you for all your contributions, folks; I enjoyed every one.

I’m also sending out a copy of RUNEMARKS to Ben, of Milton Keynes; chosen at random from the list of subscribers to my newsletter. If you’d like a chance at a signed copy for next month, sign up now and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you…

A POCKETFUL OF CROWS comes out next month, and I’ll be recording the audiobook next week in London (my first audiobook, so check it out on Amazon – you know how important pre-orders are to authors and publishers everywhere!) I’ll also be touring a lot – both alone and with the #Storytime band – so please check out my schedule to see if you can make it to any of my events.

Festivals! I’m taking bookings now, both for #Storytime and for readings.

If you’re interested, please get in touch: and if you’d like to book #Storytime, please do take a moment to read the BOOKING STORYTIME guidelines to make sure it’s right for your venue

For my US readers: the US edition of DIFFERENT CLASS comes out in paperback this month, and if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get a chance to win a copy.

And finally, here’s an exclusive  preview of what’s coming out next Spring: I think you’ll agree that my cover artist, Andreas Preis, has really outdone himself this time…


Edge-Lit, YALC and beyond…

This month has been one of conventions: so thanks to everyone who came to my events at Edge-Lit and YALC: you were great, and your enthusiasm and energy were both delightful and boundless. At YALC, we saw the re-launch of RUNELIGHT, with a new chapter and some glorious new cover art by Andreas Preis: we also gave out early proofs of  A POCKETFUL OF CROWS – if you missed out, don’t despair; sign up to my new newsletter and you’ll soon be getting a chance to win a finished copy!


This month I’ll be working hard on editing THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI and drafting my new Vianne Rocher book: I know some of you have been awaiting this one patiently, but if all goes well, it should come out sometime in 2019. I’m also going on holiday – so shoot me, I need some down-time, and so do all of you.

In the US, DIFFERENT CLASS is about to hit the shelves in paperback: US readers can find it here. Watch this space for offers and giveaways over the coming few weeks.

Meanwhile, why not enter my Holiday Snaps Competition?

Will you be taking one of my books on holiday? If so, send a selfie of you and your book in your chosen reading location to:, and I’ll send one of you a prize. (Don’t forget to include your name and land address if you want to enter!)

Entries by September 1st: and I’ll announce the winner on here.


And as midsummer flashes by, here’s a quick update of what’s been happening here in the Shed (and out of it). A POCKETFUL OF CROWS has an illustrator – Bonnie Helen Hawkins, whose work I came across by chance when she wrote to me after hearing my TEDx talk of a couple of years ago. I realized at once that she and I had certain ideas in common; I loved her art, and she’s now working hard (and to a tight deadline) to illustrate my book, which suddenly seems much less far away than it did a few weeks ago. If you want to check out Bonnie’s work, her website is right here – and you can see examples of her black-and-white work, which I particularly love. With her help, the book should look great – and it’s coming out in October, just in time for Hallowe’en…

It’s been a month of illustrators. Last week I was in Skye, celebrating the birthday of Charles Vess, who’s going to be illustrating HONEYCOMB – we had a long talk about how I envisaged the book, but I’m really quite happy for Charles just to do his thing. It is a Good Thing (even though we who await it are getting quietly impatient to actually see the Thing.)

Meanwhile, the band and I have been working on new songs for #Storytime, including one to go with A POCKETFUL OF CROWS and the Twitter story from which it grew. Here we are at Lowdham, as part of the literary festival there – the venue was a beautiful little 12-century church, and although the space was a little challenging (I had to stand in the pulpit!), the welcome was great, the audience was enthusiastic, and it sounded terrific.

Most disappointingly, Buxton Litfest has cancelled our July event, due to the inability of the organizers to arrange sufficient time to get into the venue and set up. I’m hoping we can arrange something else for July, but if not, please watch this space for more gig dates in autumn…



Wow. It’s been a busy few weeks! Fans of my RUNE books – I’ve finally finished the first draft of the sequel to THE GOSPEL OF LOKI! It’s set between the end of LOKI and the beginning of RUNEMARKS, and should answer a lot of the questions you’ve been asking. It’s called THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI, and will be coming out next year.

Meanwhile, RUNELIGHT is being republished by Gollancz with a fabulous new cover by Andreas Preis, plus a new chapter from me, so look out for that, too….

And it’s been a busy few weeks for the #Storytime band, who have been playing venues with me in Liverpool and Southport, and trying out some new songs. Thank you to everyone who came! Here were are at the Atkinson in Southport as part of the festival – but don’t worry if you missed it, there will be more (just check out the Events page to find where and when)…

After the gig at the York Festival…


Hello from the Oxford Litfest, where I’ve been spending the whole week interviewing authors, attending lectures and working on the last bit (I hope!) of THE GOSPEL OF LOKI 2. The other day I interviewed Eleanor Barraclough, historian, adventurer and author of BEYOND THE NORTHLANDS (here we are, talking about Vikings, Victorian sex toys, what it’s like to be knighted with a walrus penis bone, and generally I suspect having more fun than Serious Authors are supposed to).





The band and I also got to play in Worcester College’s lovely new lecture theatre. In Leeds, people were showing us their #Storytime tattoos: in Oxford we were introduced by a lady in evening dress and pearls – and yet in both cases it’s great to see how much these stories mean to you, and how well you relate to them. We’ll be doing some more gigs in May – watch the Events board for details. Meanwhile, here’s Kevin, looking deceptively relaxed for what was a pretty hectic night…

#Storytime in March

#Storytime at King’s Place, August, 2015












Spring is in the air, and the band and I are continuing to write songs to go with the HONEYCOMB book, and building the live #Storytime show. These are the gigs we’ll be doing next month (click onto the link for details of where and how to book). We’ll be airing some new material, too, as well as some older favourites…

March 16th in York

March 22, Leeds Beckett University

March 25, Oxford

DIFFERENT CLASS, Paperback launch, February 9th, 2017

Dear Reader,

Different Class by Joanne Harris

Remember the scent of your old school? That blend of chalk dust, and mown grass, and polish, and cabbage, and teenage sweat? Remember on your first day, checking out the teachers, the other pupils; the classrooms? Remember how it seemed as if you’d never get used to the size of it, or the amount of homework, or the maze of corridors? Perhaps you were bullied. Perhaps you were shy. Perhaps you didn’t quite fit in. If so, you’ll know just what I’m talking about. Even murderers have to start somewhere.

In a previous life, before Chocolat, I taught French at a boys’ independent grammar school. I was there for fifteen years, and during that time, I collected enough stories to write a hundred books. A school is a stage on which tragedy and farce are never more than a moment away: a place in which every day, young lives are shaped, secrets shared, dramas enacted. And sometimes there’s something darker – unformed as yet, but waiting to grow.

Different Class is the third of a series of novels set in the fictional Northern town of Malbry. It follows on directly from Gentlemen and Players, revisiting St Oswald’s Grammar School (and most of the characters therein) a year after a series of distressing events, which culminated in murder. In narrative terms, it also precedes Blueeyedboy, which is set in the area around the school, and it features some of the main characters. So technically, this is a trilogy (I’ve always rather liked trilogies) although each story stands alone, and the books can be read in any order.

St Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys has been through some rough times over the past year. The murder of a schoolboy; the loss of the Head and several key members of staff, coupled with a disastrous set of exam results, have brought the place to the brink of ruin. Only a Crisis Intervention – designed to salvage failing schools – can save it now, which is why Roy Straitley, the eccentric Latin Master and main protagonist of Gentlemen and Players, is (not quite reluctantly) delaying his retirement for one more year. But a trendy new Head, a Crisis Team, a paper-free environment and a prospective merger with Mulberry House, St Oswald’s all-female counterpart, is only the start of a wave of change that promises to engulf him.

And when the Head turns out to be an ex-pupil of Straitley’s, the boy at the heart of a scandal that ended with a St Oswald’s master in jail, can Straitley’s loyalty survive, or, as he discovers the truth, will he find himself faced with the task of destroying the school he loves?

Read more about it here!


RUNEMARKS blog tour!

The new edition of RUNEMARKS, re-edited and with a new introduction, with cover art by the same marvellous Andreas Preis who designed the jacket for THE GOSPEL OF LOKI…

Artwork by Andreas Preis: publisher: Gollancz.

Artwork by Andreas Preis: publisher: Gollancz.

Blog tour dates: (each blog will be running extracts from the book, and lots of other things, too…) 21-Nov 22-Nov 24-Nov 25-Nov 26-Nov 27-Nov 28-Nov 29-Nov 30-Nov 01-Dec 02-Dec 03-Dec

Coming 21st April…

Click on the picture for Q & A, background and advance info on DIFFERENT CLASS.

Click here for advance reviews.

Click here for signings, readings and festivals.

Click  here for Radio 3’s In Tune podcast, with interview and reading from the book.

Click here for the Radio 4 interview with Jim Naughtie.

Click here for an interview with Joanne (Swindon Litfest, 2016).

Click here for BBC TV Meet The Author with Jim Naughtie.

Click here for Barry Forshaw’s review for the Independent.

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Grimm & Co

Grimm & Co is a terrific new literacy project in Rotherham, of which I’m delighted to be a patron. (Visit their website here)



On a street corner in Rotherham, a rather beautiful old pub has been converted into a magical apothecary’s shop, selling all kinds of wonderful artefacts, phials and potions, from Extract of Genius to Tinned Beard, Goblin Mucus, wands of all different kinds, Knight Peelers, Middle-Aged Vitriol and giant feather dusters for cleaning giants’ bellybuttons.


But Grimm & Co isn’t just an ordinary magical apothecary. Sponsored by the Ministry of Stories, it’s also a story workshop, accessible via a hidden door in the back of the shop. Here, children of all backgrounds enter the Imagination Gym, then climb up the secret Story Stairs to the top floor, where all the resources of Grimm & Co are available to them. Here there are costumes and characters; storytelling workshops; everything a young person needs to help them unleash their own magic.


Sometimes visiting authors come to answer questions, read stories (and avail themselves of the apothecary’s magical supplies).

Sometimes groups of schoolchildren come in with their teachers, to collaborate in writing their own little books, printed and illustrated for them to take home and show their parents.

Even the exit is magical…

Best of all, this is a charity, run by volunteers of all kinds to help improve literacy, engage young imaginations and explore the countless possibilities of reading and writing stories. And you can help; either by visiting the shop (all money from the magical supplies goes straight into the charity), or by volunteering (I’ve done it: it’s fun!) or by donating (learn more here).

Language helps us communicate with the people around us. But literacy gives us the means to communicate with the whole world, to travel in time, and to learn from the greatest minds the world has known – which is why Grimm & Co and their counterparts are performing the greatest magic of all: bringing the gift of literacy, helping our children to save the world, one story at a time.

#Storytime in Huddersfield

Many, many thanks to everyone who came to Bradford’s #Storytime: you were great, and we all appreciated your warm welcome. Thanks also to Martin from Blackwell’s, who kindly supplied the books, and who organized everything so beautifully.


If you missed it (or if you’d like to come again!), the next #Storytime is at The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on March 4th. Tickets are still available: to order one, click here…
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