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26 Milestones

2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002


26 worked with International PEN to spread the word about its festival of world literature, Free The Word! The festival took place at venues around London's Southbank, and 26 members responded through a vast range of written forms and media, including the 26-powered Free the Blog!. Members also worked with Eastside educational trust, supporting the work of young writers from across the capital. A number of mentoring relationships have now been established between young writers and 26 members.


The Bard & Co.

Launch of Bard & Co at The Globe Theatre, London. Published by Cyan and edited by 26’s Jim Davies, Rob Williams and John Simmons, the book features chapters by 26 members and offers a vibrant and insightful consideration of the many ways Shakespeare can inspire people in business. It was supported by podcasts of readings on, together with newspaper articles and talks.

The Children’s Book Project was developed in association with Faber and London College of Communication. 40 pairs of 26 writers and LCC student illustrators worked together to explore new possibilities in storytelling for children.

The Common Ground tour reached a high point with a night of readings, led by QI and 26’s John Mitchinson, at the QI Building in Oxford. Earlier in the year Richard Long and 26’s Peter Kirby had walked and talked about writing, at Tate St Ives. There are plans for further events throughout 2007 and into the new year.

Led by 26’s Margaret Oscar, the 26 Posters project was announced in April and will be unveiled during the London Design Festival.

Inspired by our 26 Letters project, a group in South Africa launched their own version – 26 Letters South Africa – in collaboration with the ISTD. More at


Common Ground

Common Ground: Around Britain With Thirty Writers, edited by John Simmons, Rob Williams and Tim Rich, was launched at the Edinburgh Book Festival and received very good reviews from the Guardian, Telegraph and Times. Contributors included Ali Smith and Niall Griffiths.

An Arts Council-supported Common Ground tour saw 26 writers speak at locations up and down the country, including John Simmons at Milton’s Cottage; Stuart Delves reading George Mackay Brown in the prehistoric chambered tomb Maeshowe, on Orkney; Rishi Dastidar leading a journey into Julian Barnes’ Metroland; Neil Taylor singing the praises of Stuart Murdoch in Glasgow; and Sarah McCartney discussing FW Lister in Middlesbrough. Tom Wilcox even persuaded his subject, journalist and ex-Cleaner from Venus keyboardist Giles Smith, to join his band on stage in Colchester. And Niall Griffiths helped stage an extraordinary reading of Under Milk Wood in Soho.

We launched a new 26 website. The project was led by 26’s Jim Davies and produced in association with two great friends of 26 – Elmwood Design and Fried Rice Design. Around 25,000 people visit the site each year. A new monthly e-mail newsletter was also launched for members, edited by Jim Davies and Nick Asbury.

26 published its first Wordsworth survey of members’ salaries, fees, experience and opinions. 26’s Sarah McCartney led the project.


26 Malts

Led by Jamie Jauncey, Stuart Delves and Damian Mullan of the 26 Scotland chapter, 26 Malts paired 26 writers with 26 designers to create unique identities and labels for twenty-six new malts from The Scottish Malt Whisky Society. The superb work was captured in a book, exhibition and talks.

26’s Nick Asbury and Sue Rogers curated a wonderfully inventive exhibition featuring stories from the From Here To Here book, and recorded it all here.

The book From Here To Here: Stories Inspired by London’s Circle Line was launched and included the much-discussed KX, a prescient poem by Simon Armitage. A related writing and design project was developed in collaboration with Platform for Art and LCC students and tutors, creating posters exhibited at 27 Tube stations – tells more.

Devised by 26’s Ben Afia, the Your Writing Sucks conference in Nottingham encouraged an audience of more than 50 writers, designers, marketers and students to refresh their approach to words.

Inspired by a John Simmons talk in Sweden, Berghs School of Communication, Sweden’s leading college for the creative industries, adopted the 26 Letters idea and created a set of posters exploring the Swedish alphabet – 28 Letters.


26 Letters

The 26 Letters: Illuminating the Alphabet exhibition launched at the British Library. Conceived by John Simmons, this collaboration with the International Society of Typographic Designers and the Library formed a central part of the London Design Festival. Writers were paired randomly with designers and briefed to create a poster exploring a particular letter of the alphabet, to extraordinary effect. A handsome hardback book was published by Cyan.

Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish sponsored 26 for 18 months.

200 people attended a 26 talk on writing and tone of voice at Interbrand, London.



The 26 broadsheet was published. Written by 26 and designed by Lippa Pearce, this was an entertaining manifesto declaring 26’s intention to enliven business writing. was launched – written by 26, designed by Rose Design.

26 launched at the Design Council during the London Design Festival. 150 writers, designers and friends join us for the evening. Membership quickly reached 100.

The search for a name for the group ends with Tim Rich’s suggestion of 26 – referring to the number of letters in the English alphabet.