An illustrated anthology in which 26 writers respond to 26 treasures in 4 museums, using only 62 words.
John Simmons is a writer and co-founder of the writers’ organisation 26. John has written many books on creative writing for business (yes, it is possible). The most recent is Room 121, co-written with Jamie Jauncey, another contributor to 26 Treasures. Before that were We, Me, Them & It, The Invisible Grail, Dark Angels and 26 Ways of Looking at a BlackBerry. The Dark Angels writing courses – run with Stuart Delves and Jamie Jauncey – have become legendary.
John’s first novel The Angel of the Stories was published in 2011. He’s been a writer-in-residence at Unilever and King’s Cross tube station, and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by University College, Falmouth this year. John invented the sestude and has contributed two to this collection, based on objects from the V&A and the National Library of Wales. He’s a director of The Writer.
In 2003, with six other writers, John founded 26, a not-for-profit group that champions the cause of better writing in all areas of life www.26.org.uk . This has grown into a thriving membership organisation that holds events and carries out interesting writing projects (such as 26 Treasures) with different partners.
26 Treasures started as a speculative idea. It’s spread surprisingly beyond the expectations of its originators. It seems that all writers and readers treasure connections with the past through objects – personal ones and those displayed in museums. There have been more than a hundred writers involved in this collection, including many of the best-known literary authors in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: Andrew Motion (former poet laureate), Paul Muldoon, Bernard MacLaverty, Alexander McCall Smith, Gillian Clarke (Welsh laureate). You will also find many authors on the rise such as Lucy Caldwell, Laura Forman, Sara Sheridan, Elise Valmorbida, captured at a crucial time by the charm of a new, challenging literary form. This will be the world’s first-ever collection of sestudes.
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Thanks for all our hundreds of subscribers. 26 Treasures reached 100% funding this morning. Delighted that the book will be published and looking forward to holding a copy. We'll work as fast as we can to get the book into subscribers' hands.
28th February 2012Today
Only 39 supporters needed today (morning of 28th February). The book will now definitely happen so the editorial team is finalising everything needed for the book. Sara Sheridan has written her Scottish. Rob Self-Pierson has written the V&A intro. Gillian Colhoun will do the same for Northern Ireland, and Anita Holford/Sally Baker for Wales (inc bilingual versions in Welsh). We're collecting all the…
10th January 2012Sax
Went up to Edinburgh last week and saw 26 Treasures at National Museum of Scotland. The exhibition will come down after Burns Night. After that your best chance of seeing the 26 Scottish pieces is going to be in this book. So don't miss that chance, and don't let friends miss it.
Loved the story of Aimee Chalmers, one of the writers, performing for 26 minutes with a jazz sax accompaniment. They're…
7th December 2011By candlelight
I have to admit I wasn’t that keen on my candle stand at the V&A. There were other objects that appealed much more to me: the drinking flask, the bust of Homer, the Elizabethan miniature. These appealed more immediately to a sense of humour or romance, there was a more obvious aesthetic attraction.
The candle stand looked undistinguished in the photograph. Not my taste either, a feeling reinforced…