‘A Ten-Year Voyage’, insight from inside the Hackney pirate ship.
As part of Roehampton University’s collaboration with Literacy Pirates, the students involved in creating the charity’s ten-year anniversary anthology were welcomed aboard the Hackney ship, to meet the crew and get a sense of what goes on underneath the deck.
From the first steps into the building on Kingsland High, one can see the effort and dedication that the pirate crew put into creating this safe space for children. The wooden barrel-like walls with full bookshelves, the velvet curtain that leads you further into the ‘ship’, the book inspired staircase and the aquarium that hosts a golden fish, all contribute to the magical atmosphere of the place.
Considering the practical side, the Literacy Pirates’ teaching materials can be seen all around, from books to guides and writing prompts, all neatly organised on desks, awaiting volunteers to hand them out and children to use them. The charity aims to improve literacy among children aged from approximately nine to twelve, through creative writing exercises and projects, that they later have the opportunity to see in print.
The impressive amount of books published by the Literacy Pirates until now includes a variety of genres and formats, worth mentioning is a play and a comic book. The books’ content is as diverse as the authors are, the stories revealing children from all over the world, united because of the sessions they attend with the pirates. Literacy Pirates provides them not only with a space where they learn how to express themselves in writing, and where reading is promoted but also with a space where they can learn from each other and discover new cultures.
Both the magical atmosphere of a ship with bookish Pirates, and the educational and creative activities held there, make the Hackney office a reflection of the charity’s spirit and goals. Pauline Rolland, Sarah Newman, Isha Gadgil, Teodora Hociung and Zuzanna Majkowska hope that their enthusiasm and belief in this project will also be felt in the ten-year anthology that they put together, because more children should get the chance to walk in through the Pirates’ doors and step into the fantastical world of stories.