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A Monster Calls. Image by Manuel Harlan
A Monster Calls. Image by Manuel Harlan

A Monster Writing Challenge for Young Storytellers

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Author Patrick Ness is setting young people a monster writing challenge inspired by his novel turned stage show, A Monster Calls.

A Monster Calls. Image by Manuel Harlan
A Monster Calls. Image by Manuel Harlan

His 2011 book for young adults has sold over a million copies and garnered huge critical acclaim, including an unprecedented double win of the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for outstanding children’s literature and illustration.

It tells the story of Conor, a 13-year-old boy who knows his mother is seriously ill, and whose fear grows when no-one will really talk to him about it. Late one night, a monster pays him a visit: the enormous, ancient yew tree in his garden comes ferociously to life, and begins to tell Conor a series of harsh fables.

A Monster Calls. Image by Manuel Harlan
A Monster Calls. Image by Manuel Harlan

Exploring themes of family, grief, hidden emotions, truth, complex lives, bereavement and friendship, the monster’s tales ultimately help Conor face the truth of his situation.

Taking these same themes as inspiration, the Monster Writing Challenge is for young people aged 10-25 to tell a short story of their own. Entries must be no more than 500 words and selected stories will be narrated by members of the cast in a series of videos posted up on the production’s social media channels.

The deadline for submissions in the North West is 20 February, ahead of the show’s run at The Lowry from 25-29 February. For more details visit A Monster Calls website and download an information pack.

Hear how director Sally Cookson brought the book to life in her Olivier Award-winning production now on its first UK tour.

How director Sally Cookson brought the book to life
Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Written by Carmel Thomason