On a brisk and snowy walk into work down Hoxton Street this morning, I was stopped in my snow boot tracks by a shop calling itself The Monster Supplies Shop. Pressing my nose to the glass, I saw shelves lined with tins of Escalating Panic, jars of snot and buckets of ear wax. Signs on the door read, “The eating of our staff will not be tolerated” and “Humans enter at their own risk”.
Was this Pop-Up 3.0? No. Had I had a little too much coffee and wound up in Diagon Alley? No, I was outside Nick Hornby’s new venture – The Ministry of Stories. Behind its “monsterous” façade, The Ministry of Stories is a place for young people to write stories, take part in workshops and word games, and receive one-to-one mentoring from adult writers who volunteered their time. A similar concept and now-famous institution in San Francisco – the Pirate Shop, inspired Nick Hornby to set up the Ministry of Stories for children this side of the Atlantic.
I think it’s a beautiful idea amazingly executed. It is very rare to have one’s imagination set alight before 9am, so I can only imagine how inspiring and exciting The Ministry of Stories will be to the kids it serves.