At the beginning of September 2011 Sam Gray had an idea. What if we, the writers' collective '26' challenged our members to create an online advent calendar of words and images? In its first incarnation 26 Stories of Christmas paired writers with design students, inspiring 26 short stories.
How the idea grew
In 2013 we wanted to build on what we'd achieved. During our 26 Treasures exhibitions of 2011- 2013 we piloted a new literary form - the sestude. This comprises 62 words written in poetry, drama or prose. We decided this year to write our Christmas advent messages in this, shortened form. As it's Christmas, we wanted to add an emotional core to what we were doing so we teamed up with two worthy charities - Teenage Cancer Trust and Its Good 2 Give - who asked some of the sick children and young people they help to draw us 26 inspirational Christmas images. As it turned out, the children and young people themselves proved as inspiring as the Christmas trees, snowmen, elves, reindeer, stars and even Santa submarine they came up with. This year we've added the ability to donate to the charity of your choice to make your daily dose of 26 Christmas stories feel even better. If you're feeling generous already you are welcome to donate here.
What you'll find on the site
From 1st to 26th December we'll publish an illustration and a sestude inspired by it every day.
We hope you enjoy our 26 stories of Christmas and will visit the site to open a new window every morning. Some will make you smile and some will send a chill up your spine. We hope they all give you a Christmas thrill and make you feel festive.
The Writers & Illustrators
26 writers and 26 illustrators worked together to bring 26 Stories of Christmas to life. A big thank you and warm Christmas wishes to:
To protect the privacy of the children and young people who kindly donated their energy and time to drawing pictures for the project, we have not named them. However, many of those who got involved are extremely ill and we're very grateful for their generous contribution.
26 Stories of Christmas has been a collaborative project from the beginning. Everyone involved has donated their time and creativity. With the help of the following people it's become bigger than 26 could ever have imagined. So a special thank you to:
and all of the children and young people who drew pictures for us. We couldn't have done it without you!
Tweet us at @26Characters or get in touch on Facebook at 26 Characters
26 exists to inspire a greater love of words in business and in life. We manage several writing projects and events every year. We'd love you to join us for, well £26, of course. Check out our website www.26.org.uk for more details.