As part of the 2022 Bloomsbury Festival we present a new body of work by writing organisation 26.

26 Orphans is an online exhibition of writing about fictional characters, whose stories involve being abandoned early in life, orphaned or fostered. It’s a familiar theme in storytelling, but not often thought about deeply. The work by writers from international writing organisation 26 has been inspired by the poet Lemn Sissay’s installation Superman was a Foundling that can be seen on the walls of the Museum. Sissay’s list includes David Copperfield, Harry Potter and Superman. Who would you pick?

Writers from 26 have each chosen their own favourite fictional characters who lost natural parents in childhood. Drawing on classic literature, childhood favourites, comic books and folklore, characters from film and modern drama, each writer has created a sestude (a form that’s exactly 62 words). Oh, and one more twist, the writers were asked to incorporate ‘breathe’ in their responses, the word representing this year’s Bloomsbury Festival theme.

For the duration of the Bloomsbury Festival, visitors are invited to find the 26 pieces of work in a digital trail around the Museum via the Smartify website. To access the tour, visit the Museum’s page on the Smartify website or scan the QR code in the Museum.