Thursday, 26 June 2014

Letter To An Unknown Solider - an invitation for everyone to write history

Photos taken at a Writing Workshop at Fortismere school where students brought in objects and photos of their own family memories of involvement in WW1.  Their letters have been recorded and can be heard on Paddington Station in London for the duration of this memorial in words.

Photography by Matthew Andrews

Letter To An Unknown Soldier is the most wonderful, egalitarian way of gathering stories. I was honoured to be invited to write a letter as one of fifty commissioned British writers including Malorie Blackman, David Almond and Stephen Fry to name but a few. These voices were invited to get the ball rolling and  now every single person in the country is invited to write and publish their letters recording family stories from WW1 from every perspective including women, children, parents, grandparents, soldiers, defectors, consciencious objectors...the stories that fall between the cracks of the official telling of history. When all the letters are collated together they will form a national archive which will surely become a national treasure for the British Museum where it will be permanently housed.

Themes of the importance of finding yourself  and your family's path through history resonate strongly with me and feature in all my novels but especially in my forthcoming novel 'Red Leaves' (to be published in September 2014 by Macmillan Children's Books)  so... I wrote my letter through the eyes of my character Zak Johnson... who will you write your letter from and to?

Have a look around the site - find out how to publish your own letter and read all the other moving letters...

But be may need a box of tissues by your side... these letters tug straight at the heart strings.

Here's my letter from Zak on the site and a video of me reading Zak's letter.