Objects | Art/Craft/Design


The Machine Gunners, draft about 1975

Seven Stories: National Centre for Children's Books, Tyne and Wear

Literature and Music

1946 To Today

The Machine Gunners (Macmillan, 1975) was Robert Westall’s first published book, and won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1976.

Much of the story was based on Westall’s own experience of growing up in North Shields during World War II, and developed out of his desire to share with his son his own experience of childhood.

This notebook is where Westall recorded the first draft of the story, as he was telling it to his own son, and so provides a direct link to Westall’s creative process. Westall went on to write many more books set in the North East, and became a key voice in representations of the North East in children’s literature.

By Robert Westall (1929-1993)

On display at Newcastle City Library - on loan from Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books, as part of their Writing North East exhibition until
31 July 2013.

To view after this date, please email collections@sevenstories.org.uk or telephone 01914952707 to book an appointment at Seven Stories.

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