‘Marvellous and Mischievous’: Literature’s Young Rebels exhibition this summer


The Hold’s new exhibition, Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels, is now open and runs throughout the summer.

Image from the children’s book Zog showing a dragon, princess, and knight.On tour from the British Library, this interactive, family friendly exhibition showcases popular rebellious characters from children’s books.

The exhibition highlights how rebels in children’s literature have been presented in many different ways: characters who stand up for what they believe in, break away from convention, have a cause they are striving for, are extremely resilient, survive difficult situations, or are just slightly mischievous.

'Marvellous and Mischievous' features more than 50 books, manuscripts and original artwork, including characters such as Tracy Beaker, Pippi Longstocking, Jane Eyre, Dirty Bertie, and Matilda.

Visitors will also be able to encounter original artworks by much-loved illustrators including Sir Quentin Blake ('Matilda'), Nick Sharratt ('Tracy Beaker'), and Judith Kerr ('When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit').

Spanning over 300 years, the exhibition and the associated events programme invite audiences to rediscover their favourite characters, as well as meet new ones and explore what it means to be a rebel.

Councillor Bobby Bennett, Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities at Suffolk County Council, said:

“We are excited to be bringing the British Library’s 'Marvellous and Mischievous' touring exhibition to Suffolk. By combining the exhibition with a fun events programme, we are giving people of all ages and backgrounds even more reason to visit The Hold and experience our culture, archives and heritage centre for themselves.”

Emily Shepperson, Exhibition and Interpretation Officer at Suffolk Archives, explained:

“The 'Marvellous and Mischievous' exhibition programme offers light-hearted, creative activities for families and adults. We hope that grown ups and children alike can enjoy the display of characters and stories which hold a special place in their hearts.

"We are also encouraging over 18s to try out our monthly ‘Lates’, which are perfect for groups, couples and culture vultures! So whatever your age, there will be lots of Marvellous and Mischievous activities to enjoy this summer at The Hold.”

Lucy Evans, lead curator of Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels at the British Library, said:

“'Marvellous and Mischievous' is a fun, interactive exhibition all about exploring what makes a young ‘rebel’ in children’s stories. Children’s literature over the last 300 years has shown that rebels come in all shapes and sizes from the wilful, bold Matilda, the ambitious Princess Pearl to the resilient Ahmet from The Boy at the Back of the Class. Many of the books displayed in the exhibition share powerful messages highlighting contemporary themes prevalent amongst the younger generation and illustrate how literature can inspire and motivate society today.

“We are delighted to be able to support The Hold in bringing 'Marvellous and Mischievous' to Suffolk. We hope that audiences of all ages are able to enjoy the British Library’s vast collection of children’s literature in this interactive and exciting exhibition.”

The exhibition is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as part of Suffolk Archives’ programme of events and engagement projects with communities across Suffolk.


The exhibition events are created in partnership with Suffolk Libraries, and include adult storytelling with professional storytellers, Mamma G, Dave Tong and Baden Prince Junior.

Storytelling for children, “Mischief and Mystery in Moomin Valley”, is performed by theatre group Get Lost and Found on Thursday 11 August. Join them to discover the world of the Moomins where anything is possible.

Running weekly in August are Let's Get Crafty sessions, inspired by ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and the exhibition, ages 4 to 13 are welcome.

Children’s lunchboxes can be ordered in advance to save money when booking a child’s event place. Dietary options are available.

Another part of the programme is a brand new anthology of stories by University of Suffolk MA Creative Writing students, ‘Suffolk Rebels With a Very Good Cause’. From Boudica to Basil Brown, from Princess Sophia to Prince Monolulu, the book celebrates real courageous people with local connections, who have broken the mould. All true stories are retold for a family audience perfect to read solo or together. Out on Thursday 14 July, the book is available at The Hold and online at www.suffolkarchives.co.uk.

‘Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels’ runs until Sunday 25 September at The Hold on Ipswich Waterfront.

Exhibition opening times are 9.30am - 4.30pm from Monday to Friday, with late opening on Thursdays. On Saturday and Sunday, the opening times are 10am - 4pm.

Exhibition tickets cost £4 per child or concession, £5 per adult, and £14 for a family ticket (two adults and two children). For more information and to book in advance visit www.suffolkarchives.co.uk, or tickets are available on the door.

The Café At The Hold is open daily for visitors to drop in for refreshments.