‘Timelines’ Takes Over Historic Ordsall Hall

Ordsall Hall
Historic Ordsall Hall provided the stunning setting for the Timelines anthology relaunch, as part of Manchester Children’s Book Festival. A number of the contributors to the anthology – a “unique project” written and illustrated by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) students – were brought together in the magnificent surroundings of the Tudor manor house to read excerpts from their own short stories.
Manchester Writing School’s Livi Michael and Iris Feindt
Speaking to us ahead of the readings, in the impressive main hall of the building, Livi Michael and Iris Feindt from Manchester Writing School were clearly overjoyed by the choice of venue. Iris said “I don’t know why I’ve never been here before, it’s such an amazing place. I could just sit here all day!” Whilst Livi added, “We were at (the Family Fun Day) all day yesterday, which was rather noisy, so it’s lovely to be here at this beautiful, rather calmer, place. We love the setting, we hope it will make everyone feel happy about doing their readings.”

Asked about the Timelines anthology itself, Iris told us,

“It came about last year. Livi and I edited it and it’s a collection of short stories written by master’s degree children’s writers and some of their tutors. It’s to give the writers a ‘leg up,’ because it is really difficult to get published, to get that first step on the publishing ladder. It was illustrated by students from the Manchester School of Art and we feel that the illustrations completely bring the collection to life.


The authors of Timelines
“The writers on the anthology had a really professional attitude throughout, whilst it was being edited. We didn’t have anyone who was really precious about their work. We made them jump though so many hoops, just to try to make the ending work, we’d say “try this, try that …” and some of them had to write it several times, but they did it and they all had a really good attitude which was nice to see. It’s good for them to have been through that process. It’s a university publication, but it doesn’t look or feel like a university publication because there was a strict selection process and it’s been handled so professionally.” Meanwhile, Livi added,
“We publish Timelines to a professional standard and it’s marketed through Amazon and Blackwells, so it is also sold professionally. Every story in there has been edited and proofread many times over. And the illustrations are great.”
Dan Seitler and Yosef Kanter, both aged 7.

Iris was first to read from her short story The White Line, which is set in Berlin during the Cold War and deals with the building of the Berlin Wall.

Another contributor to the anthology, Marie Dentan, had traveled all the way from Paris to be at the Festival and read from her short story Robin and the King. Marie told us, “Ordsall Hall is amazing, it’s really beautiful. For the Timelines event it is perfect.”
Last to read was Kim Hutson who not only works at Ordsall Hall but also set her own short story at the Tudor manor itself. She said, “I realised that the things we usually talk about here are to do with Tudor times and the 16th and 17th centuries. I wanted to do something different with my story, The Silver Spoons of Ordsall Hall, so it is actually set in 1831.”
Oscar and the White Lady illustrator Adam Pryce shares his craft

In fact, Kim had yet another reason to be excited about the event, as her latest children’s book Oscar and The White Lady, again set at Ordsall Hall, was enjoying a pre-launch party in the manor house kitchen. Children were busy learning to draw some of the book’s characters with the illustrator Adam Pryce. He told us,

“It’s a story about a young boy who is obsessed with ghosts and he comes here to search through each of the rooms. The book will be launched here properly in a couple of weeks at a special outdoor event. I’m just working with the children here, who are drawing Oddy the Mouse, a new mascot I invented for Ordsall Hall, who appears on every page of Oscar and the White Lady.”
In addition to exploring the hall’s many interesting chambers, the children at the event enjoyed loads of great activities, including dressing up and, for a brave few, even a spooky storytelling in the haunted attic! We had to leave that particular activity quite early on … eek!
The follow up book to the Timelines anthology is a brand new collection entitled Crimelines and will be the focus of a further Festival event on 5th July at John Rylands Library. Find out more information here.




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