Along an otherwise normal London street is an innocuous storefront for Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, one of the world’s only shops for suppling monsters, bogey men, and creatures of the night with their everyday essentials, however this bizarre store is only a front for a sneaky community writing program.
Inside the shop the shelves are filled with neatly stacked bottles, tins, and boxes of such esoteric ingredients as “Thickest Human Snot,” “A Vague Sense of Unease,” and “Fang Floss.” Warnings on the windows caution such whimsical (or terrifying) rules as only one giant at a time and a kind request that patrons refrain from devouring the employees. However beneath all of this mundane, day-to-day monster shopping, the store actually hides a much more positive purpose as a youth writing and literacy center.
Modeled after the various, fantastical theme shops operated by David Eggers’ 826 Valencia, the monster shop is the work of author Nick Hornby’s similar youth writing initiative, the Ministry of Stories. The Ministry is devoted to encouraging creative writing skills in both children and adults providing classes and workshops through outlets such as the Hoxton Monster shop.
Luring children into a stop-and-shop for walking nightmares may not seem like the safest option to increase interest in the art of writing, but then again many public schools can be much more frightening.