Coram Literary Panel explores representation in Literature

Published: Thursday 26th March 2020

On 26 February, Coram was pleased to welcome leading writers for a literary panel conversation at the Foundling Museum, in the latest of its 'Inspiring Women' series of events.

The panel was chaired by former BBC Chief News Correspondent, Kate Adie CBE, and included bestselling author Joanna Trollope CBE, actress and comedian Helen Lederer, bestselling author of Coram Boy, Jamila Gavin, and historical novelist, Katharine McMahon. 

The evening's discussion focused on women in literature, the benefits of reading and writing for children's wellbeing, and the wider, growing role literature plays in boosting mental health. Katharine McMahon said: "Literature gives children access to other worlds. Children are hugely imaginative, they long to experience other lives and literature is a really safe way of doing that."  

The panel highlighted how important it is for young people to see themselves in literature, and how they should be supported to share their own story, as Helen Lederer said: "It is essential for children to be reflected in what they're reading. We need to reflect childhood in a funny, empowered way." She continued: "There is a power in not being alone and a power in finding a voice."

Watch the video below to hear more insight from our panellists.  

Coram has a longstanding relationship with literature and throughout its history, the story of Coram has inspired writers, novelists and poets alike. One of the earliest supporters of the Foundling Hospital, today known as Coram, was renowned author Charles Dickens, whose character Tattycoram in Little Dorrit was a Foundling pupil. 

Other pieces of literature inspired by Coram's history in more recent years include Jamila Gavin's Coram Boy and Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather

Following the Literary panel event, we are delighted that Coram continues to inspire both writers and children alike through the power of storytelling. Our annual creative writing competition Voices, supports care-experienced children and young people to share their stories in their own words.