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Museum collections inspire new children’s book

Oct 28th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

bookIP BITS and pieces stored behind the scenes at Wellington’s Te Papa museum are the latest inspiration for a new children’s book.

The book ‘Curioseum’ brings together 22 short stories from some of New Zealand’s most well-known writers.

Each has contributed a completely fictional story from something they’ve discovered in the museum’s collections.

Whitireia Polytechnic’s Creative Writing Programme has joined Te Papa Press to put together the new book that is aimed at eight to twelve-year-olds.

Founder of the creative writing programme and project leader Adrienne Jansen (right) says the idea came from two different directions.

“It was interesting that I had the idea and I went to Claire Murdoch, who is the publisher at Te Papa Press, and she had the same idea.”

“The whole idea of it was to ask a group of really good writers to come into the museum, show them around the back of the house, around the collections, to find some things that really interest them and from that write an entirely imaginary story about it,” says Adrienne.

“For instance they might find a really peculiar kind of beetle in the natural history collections and then they would write a story that was a completely imaginary, but that started from that beetle.”

From there a lot of time was spent refining the list of writers, because they wanted to move away from the standard and find an unexpected mix of writers.

“About half of the writers are writers for children’s books but the others weren’t but we were confident they could write for children.”

“Some of the writers are Joy Cowley, Kyle Mewburn, Elizabeth Knox, Mandy Hager and Ant Sang, there’s a big range.”

Whitireia hosted the writers in May when they were invited to come and explore behind the scenes at the museum.

Since then the authors have gone through a process of writing their stories and sending them back for editing.

The book will be illustrated by well-known author and illustrator Sarah Laing, and published by Te Papa Press.

It is in its final stage of production and is expected to be released in March 2014.

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