Malorie Blackman is celebrated with British Library exhibition

‘Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories’ at the British Library shines a light on her journey as an author, while touching on social issues represented in her novels

Malorie Blackman at the British Library
(Image credit: Andy Stagg)

Writer Malorie Blackman OBE is celebrated with a dedicated exhibition at the British Library in London, which explores the author's life and work over the last four decades. Until 25 February 2024, ‘Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories’ shines a light on Blackman’s journey as an author, while touching upon social issues represented in her novels.

The exhibition, created by design collective Power Out of Restriction (POoR, winner of the Emerging Design Medal in the London Design Medals 2023), shows storytelling in a tactile form, diving deep into topics such as social division, power imbalance, and oppression, which are foundations for most of Blackman’s novels. Themes of family life, relationships and happiness are also represented, reflecting the novels that have influenced the lives of children and adults who enjoy them.

‘Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories’

Malorie Blackman at The British Library

(Image credit: Courtesy of British Library)

For the exhibition design, POoR Collective drew inspiration from the themes expressed in Blackman’s work. They also collaborated with a group of students from Regent High School in Camden, London, asking about their own experience with books, reading, and storytelling, and integrating the response into a section of the show.

Malorie Blackman British Library exhibition

Blackman’s medallion from being Children’s Laureate from 2013-15, on display at the British Library

(Image credit: Courtesy of British Library

)

The landmark exhibition explores the broader social context of Blackman’s writing, using colours to guide visitors through the space. Split into four distinct sections, 'Representation', 'Claiming a Voice', Noughts & Crosses', and 'Legacies', the show is an open invitation to learn about the importance of media representation, and Black activism throughout the 1960s to 1980s.

A series of images of significant figures, such as Jamaican artist Errol Lloyd, and Guyanese educator and novelist Beryl Gilroy, is accompanied by novels, and comics which have left a lasting impact on Blackman, giving insight into her early life.

Malorie Blackman British Library exhibition

Photos of Blackman on display at the British Library

(Image credit: Courtesy of British Library and Marjorie Blackman)

A vivid orange space displays Blackman’s influential works, such as the Noughts & Crosses series, which address racism. Blackman’s journey as a writer is discovered, with the inclusion of works by the likes of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker referencing her real-world inspiration and personal experiences.

Larry Botchway, co-founder of POoR Collective, says: ‘Through her writing, Malorie has not only entertained and engaged readers but also educated and inspired them to think critically about race, inequality and social justice.’

Malorie Blackman British Library exhibition

(Image credit: Andy Stagg)

‘Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories’ is free to enter and runs until 25 February 2024 at the British Library, London

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Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, she has contributed to BBC Wales, Ford UK, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, with work spanning from social media content creation to editorial. Now, her role covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.