How to Write Your Own Shakespeare Tales

Saturday 23rd April marks Shakespeare’s birthday and 2016 is a big year for Shakespeare fans as around the country, and around the world, various organisations are celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The British Library in London are unveiling a brand new Shakespeare exhibition this month, Shakespeare in Ten Acts and I was lucky enough to be asked to create a children’s book, for their fledgling children’s publication arm, to celebrate Shakespeare’s skill for storytelling. The result was My Book of Stories: write your own Shakespearean tales.  It is aimed at 8 to 12 year olds, and is full of story starters inspired by some of the best stories ever written, by one of the English language’s greatest writers.

Shakespeare insults cropFrom my small office at home in Kintbury I was transported to the Scottish Highlands choosing quotes from Macbeth, to Verona creating the framework to write a letter about love, and sent into giggles developing a page of Shakespearean insults. My favourite is “Thou art like a toad, ugly and venomous”, ouch!

To celebrate Shakespeare Week, back in March, I created Ten Tips on How to Write like the Bard for The Guardian’s website. Though it’s on the children’s book website, the tips would also be useful for any adults who are keen to try and create a bit of Shakespeare fan fiction.

You can also immerse yourself in the world of Shakespeare by checking out these two excellent websites shakespeare400.org and BBC Shakespeare Festival 2016, or by having a go at the Penny Post Shakespeare Quiz for a chance to win a copy of My Book of Stories: write your own Shakespearean tales.

Deborah Patterson

Based in Kintbury, Deborah (@mrsdebspatters) writes, edits and produces children’s non-fiction for UK heritage institutions including the British Library, the Science Museum and the National Trust.

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