A collection of short stories for children aged 7-11 yrs, showcasing the cultural heritage of the protected landscape to inspire, connect and engage children from Cornwall, and beyond.
We commissioned 12 Cornish authors to each write a story set in sections of Cornwall National Landscap. Their brief was to create a sense of place with the themes of People, Place, Nature and Climate.
To use storytelling to connect and introduce children of primary-school age with nature and to offer an opportunity for a life-long passion for the outdoors and natural environment.
We have a history of expressing the value of AONBs through the language of policy, by which the emotions of place are inadequately distilled into the tools of protection, but the reality is that we experience landscape; it triggers emotion. To describe landscape to others without invoking an experience is to fundamentally ignore our relationship with place and miss what it is to be human.
The beauty of these areas is often intangible and always vulnerable. Whether your spirits are lifted by a lone walk along a grassy hillside or refreshed by the intimacy of a woodland walk with a friend, their special qualities are experienced, felt, and ultimately understood. To recognise the experiential element of landscape and create opportunities for others to access the value this can bring to their lives is part of their effective curation.
The arts are a central mechanism for helping this happen. The creative exploration of place, through music, painting, poetry, and dance opens up the experience of landscape beyond the world of science and policy and helps us better understand our place in the world. With better understanding comes better stewardship; the basis of a more sustainable future.
Instilling better understanding, better stewardship and a more sustainable future begins in childhood. This project uses storytelling to connect and introduce children of primary-school age with nature and to offer an opportunity for a life-long passion for the outdoors and natural environment, with all the physical and mental health benefits this brings.
The stories will capture the essence of the 12 separate, distinctive, geographical and geological sections which make up one single designation. A collective of short stories within one book will showcase the cultural heritage of the protected landscape to inspire, connect and engage with audiences from Cornwall, and beyond.
The stories will be written narratives, and are intended to be published, with audio options to increase connection. The targeted age for these stories is 7-11 years old and will explore the creative themes of people, place, nature and climate.
Sarah Tagholm is a children’s author who loves writing about confused animals, mischievous children and all things bizarre. She is passionate about encouraging a love of reading, libraries and availability of books for all children. Her debut, Wolves In Helicopters, was published in 2022. Sam Francisco King Of The Disco – a rhyming picture book about cats – will be published in June, 2023. Both are available from all the usual places. Sarah lives with her husband and son in Cornwall, where they spend so much time in the sea it’s a wonder they haven’t grown gills.
Emily Charlotte Ould is a freelance writer and editor based in Cornwall, published in print, online and broadcast radio. She has an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University, where she specialised in children’s and young adult literature, and a BA Honours degree in Creative Writing from Falmouth University. Her writing has been longlisted for Bath Children’s Novel Award and Exeter Novel Award, and shortlisted in the Searchlight Writing for Children Award. She is also proud to be a founder of PaperBound Magazine, an online publication dedicated to celebrating children’s and young adult literature. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyocharlotte and Instagram: @emilycharlotteeditorial.
Luke Thompson is a writer, editor and publisher from Cornwall. He is the author of the poetry collection Singing About Melon, the non-fiction title Rhinoceros and the biography Clay Phoenix, as well as collaborative titles Robot Squirrel, The Clearing, and A Suitcase Full of Eels. Luke is the founding editor of Guillemot Press. Originally from St Austell, he now lives just off Bodmin Moor.
Jackie lives near Looe in South East Cornwall, and loves dancing, walking and being by, or preferably in, the sea. She has been writing forever, and her poetry and short fiction has been published in journals including, most recently, Mslexia. Her collection of interlinked short stories, Strange Waters, was published by Arachne Press in July 2021. She is currently a very mature student studying for an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow and working on a hybrid text ‘Adventures in the Edgelands’.
Naomi Jones is a poet, children’s author and freelance editor. Her picture books include The Perfect Fit, One More Try, The Odd Fish, How to Catch a Rainbow, How to Make a Story and Thunderboots. Her work has now been translated into 19 languages. Naomi lives with her family and their dog in Cornwall.
Julie Sykes was born in Kingston upon Thames and not long after her family moved to Australia. They were there for three happy years, working “(my parents not me)”, travelling and learning to hop like kangaroo “(me not my parents)” before returning to the UK. She has also lived on a fish farm, sharing her home with 300,000 rainbow trout. Now based in Cornwall just a short walk from the beach – “lucky me” – with her noisy family and their white wolf, cunningly disguised as a dog. When she isn’t roaming the Cornish countryside you can find her on Twitter/ Instagram at @juliesykesbooks
Gareth Rees is a writer, editor and workshop leader based in Cornwall. As a journalist, commissioning editor, content creator and copywriter, he has worked in the media and publishing industry for 20 years. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals including Aloe, Field and Meat, and his audio story, ‘Things You Should Know About Grandad’, read by actors from The Story Republic, is available on the Podbean podcast platform. He is the editor of Cornwall AONB’s 12 Stories for 12 Sections, an anthology of short fiction by Cornwall-based writers. Featuring his short story ‘Giggling In My Jar’, it will be published by new Cornish publisher Hermitage Press in spring 2024. Currently on the MFA Creative Writing programme at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Manchester Writing School, he is working on a historical novel set in his native Wales.
Anna Wilson began her career as an editor at Macmillan Children’s Books, but quickly turned her attention to writing her own books and has published 60 titles for children and adults. Her series, Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire has been translated into thirteen languages. As well as writing for young people, Anna has also published a memoir for adult readers: A Place for Everything – my mother, autism and me. It has been reviewed as “a seminal work in this area” by the world expert in autism in women, Professor Tony Attwood. Anna also has extensive experience in teaching creative writing. She is currently a tutor for the Arvon Foundation, the London Writers’ Salon and the HarperCollins Author Academy. She is also a Royal Literary Fund Fellow for Exeter University on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
Wyl Menmuir is an award-winning author based in Cornwall. His 2016 debut novel, The Many was longlisted for the Man-Booker Award and was an Observer Best Fiction of the year pick. His second novel Fox Fires was published in 2021 and his short fiction has been published by Nightjar Press, Kneehigh Theatre and National Trust Books and appeared in Best British Short Stories. Wyl’s first full-length non-fiction book, The Draw of the Sea, won the Roger Deakin Award from the Society of Authors and is published in 2022. A former journalist, Wyl has written for Radio 4’s Open Book, The Guardian and The Observer, and the journal Elementum. He is co-creator of the Cornish writing centre, The Writers’ Block and lectures in creative writing at Falmouth University.
Dr Paul Taylor-McCartney grew up in the West Midlands, where he studied and taught English for over twenty-five years, before he moved to Cornwall to complete a PhD and devote more time to his writing. His research and work interests include dystopian studies, children’s literature and initial teacher education. His poetry, short fiction and academic articles have appeared in print and electronic form, including: Aesthetica, The Birmingham Journal of Language and Literature, Education in Practice & Writing in Practice (National Association of Writers in Education), Dyst: Literary Journal, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, The Crank and Bandit Fiction.
Anna is the author of Cornish Folk Tales of Place (The History Press, 2019). Her poetry has been published in Atlanta Review (2020), Wild Court (2021), Indigo Dreams (2022), Ice Floe Press (2022) and Seaborne Magazine (2022), Ink Sweat and Tears (2022) and Skylight47 (2022). The Silver Ball, an audio drama, was produced by Alternative Stories in 2021). She also wrote the animation scripts and tales for the Cornish folklore project Mazed.
Edward Rowe is a writer, actor and comedian from a small village in the middle of Cornwall called Roche. Edward created the character ‘Kernow King’ in 2009, and has toured three stand-up shows extensively around Cornwall, the UK and Australia. As an actor, Edward played the lead, Martin Ward, in the BAFTA-winning film Bait, written and directed by Mark Jenkin. For his performance in Bait, Edward was longlisted for Most Promising Newcomer and Best Actor at the 2019 British Independent Film Awards. Recent television credits include Alex Rider, The Witcher, House of the Dragon and Strike. Edward’s writing often focuses on Cornish history, and over the last five years he has written, produced and appeared in Trevithick!, Hireth, The Coliseum, and a trilogy of children’s shows, The Cornish Caretakers. Edward wrote and directed his short Cornish language film, Mab Hudel (Magical Son) in 2022. As a voiceover artist, Edward has recorded several stories, including Michael Morpurgo’s Half a Man. He can also be heard on Kneehigh’s ‘Walk With Me’ app and appears as King Godfrey in the video game, Elden Ring.