2010, London’s Victoria & Albert museum chose 26 objects from its British Galleries and assigned them to 26 writers. Each wrote a ‘sestude’ – a piece of exactly 62 words (26 in reflection)– in response to the object. Andrew Motion wrote about a bust of Homer, a 17th century Chinese porcelain figure reminded another writer of a pub landlord in Inverness, while the wedding suit of James II inspired 62 words about ‘a suit as full of scratches as a rose-garden’.
This year, the National Library of Wales, the Ulster Museum and the National Museum of Scotland have joined in and more writers were let loose on objects as disparate as a beggar’s badge and a 16th century Scottish guillotine.
Unbound are delighted to be offering the anthology containing the results for funding. It will include poems, meditations, and imaginatively patterned bursts of prose by over a hundred writers including Alexander McCall Smith, Paul Muldoon, Lucy Caldwell, Gillian Clarke, Bernard McLaverty and Maura Dooley.
26 Treasures will be a beautifully designed and illustrated book, with pictures of the objects displayed next to the exquisitely typeset sestude they inspired, It will be published (if you help us fund it) in April 2012.
It’s a fascinating insight into 21st century writers’ perspectives on British cultural history. So please help us publish this beautiful collection of visual and verbal curiosities.