February 2007: We have Book Lift Off!

YOUR MESSAGES, the very wonderful book of selected messages from this website was launched last night at the Poetry Cafe in London. We had readers from Texas (I know!), Austria (yes, really!), Manchester, London, Liverpool, Oxford ... from everywhere. And we had a fantastic evening, raising - wait for it - nearly £500 for The Kids Company. Thank you everyone.

But remember you can still buy a copy of Your Messages for yourself and your friends. Every penny goes to the charity. In the meantime, here are a selection of faces to put to the messages. If you have more photos you would be happy to share, please email them to Sarah and she'll put them up...

The book!

Sarah and Lynne

Ken (pin up boy for November 22nd)

Clare (pin up girl for 23rd November)

('Diggles' - our 29th November star)


Hello and welcome to the Your Messages page.

During November 2007, over 100 writers from all over the world participated in this extraordinary project. Using original extracts from the literary collaboration, MESSAGES as a prompt, writers contributed stories, poems, memoirs, lists, etc etc etc of exactly 300 words and posted them here within 24 hours of the prompt appearing.

The results were astonishing. Not just in the quality of the comments - and read them, judge for yourself - but also in how the individual writers reported their process became freer. They surprised themselves - and us.

Now, we are in the process of publishing a book of our favourites from the many many wonderful pieces contributed but we wanted to leave the website as it stands, for you to browse, enjoy and, hopefully, get inspired by!

All proceeds from the project will be going to the charity, Kids Company, and we thank all those who took part for their generosity here too.

Lynne and Sarah

Anthology Selection

Neither of us realised how difficult a task this would be. So many good pieces, so many talented writers, and we wish we could have published every single response as a celebration of everyone’s generosity and commitment. But as that would have resulted in a volume twice the size of War and Peace we had to be practical!

As the original Messages were written as stand alone pieces, despite the links between them, we looked for an element of self containment; writing that did not necessarily depend on the posted message. We also focussed on closure, often one of the most difficult things to achieve in short fiction and poetry, and looked for endings that offered some kind of fulfilment, though not necessarily any firm resolution, and certainly not necessarily happy endings. And finally, we had to consider variety, and how the pieces worked all together.

Again, thank you to everyone who took part in ‘Your Messages’; all your names will appear in the book, regardless of whether your work has been chosen or not. And please be assured that every piece has been read by both of us very carefully indeed. Thank you for that.
We hope to ‘meet’ all of you again.

Sarah & Lynne

Kids Company - our chosen charity

We are delighted to announce that we have picked The Kids Company as our charity to benefit from the Your Messages project. There's a little bit about them below, but please do visit their website on http://www.kidsco.org.uk/ to find out more. Just one of the things they'll be doing this Christmas is giving over 800 kids a Christmas lunch they wouldn't otherwise get! We hope you will agree this is a good choice - we find what they are doing amazingly inspiring and, sadly, necessary.

Kids Company

Kids Company was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996 to provide for children and young people experiencing significant psychosocial difficulties due to the absence of a functioning parent or carer, which can often have a very negative impact on their ability to access education, health, housing, and meaningful employment. It currently supports 11,925 clients.

The organisation has a multi-disciplinary team working at street level delivering a preventative and reparative therapeutic service to children.

95% of the children refer themselves or their peers to our services, which are delivered through three key channels: 33 schools across London, a drop in centre in South London and a post-16 educational site.
Kids Company aims to promote and support emotional well-being. It assumes that the healing process for these young people is only possible in the context of sustained relationships, and strives to provide each of its clients with practical and emotional help they need.
Kids Company has already made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of kids thanks to the support of all our friends and benefactors over the past eleven years. But there's more to be done and more kids who need their childhood back.


The Your Messages Project, inspired by the collaborative classic Messages, ran from 1st November to 30th November 2007 and attracted over 1,200 responses from writers around the world. We are currently reading, and loving, and selecting work for the anthology, Your Messages, that will be launched on 31st January 2007 at The Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street, London.

If you took part in the project and don't mind spending a little more time with us, we'd be so grateful if you could reply to any or all of the following questions. Feel free to post your reply, with or without your name, via the Comments facility or email us directly:

  • Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?
  • Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?
  • What, if anything, will you miss the most?
  • What did you enjoy the most?
  • Did you have any other realisations or insights?


Lynne & Sarah

(p.s. There's no necessity to reply to the questions in exactly 300 words but we'll understand if you need to!)


When we started the Messages Project in 2003, it was all about our shared passion for writing and the creative process. We devised a simple formula over coffee one day. Using email, we would exchange 300 ‘messages’ of exactly 300 words, with each one returned within a time limit of 72 hours. Links between each message were made with words, themes, character, form, or even mood. The project took eighteen months to complete and the original Messages was published in July 2006.

From the first hit of the Send button to the final message appearing in our Inbox we enjoyed the energy attached to the project – the excitement of reading new work, meeting the looming deadlines, as well as the challenges and discoveries in language and form. With the new edition of Messages due out in January 2008 we thought we could share some of that excitement with you by creating a mini ‘Your Messages’ project. And we hope you enjoy what we enjoyed: the connections and loops, the playfulness and seriousness, the journeys through the familiar and strange.

For each day of November we’ll post a message from the book and you are invited to make your own link and write your own response. The only thing we ask is that you stick to 300 words and post your response the same day (see note below). 30 of the most interesting and creative responses will be published in an accompanying booklet, the profits of which will go to charity. All the contributors will be invited to read at a special Messages Event in 2008.

Messages was about generosity from the beginning: about gifts of writing, commitment and enthusiasm. We hope you’ll join us in continuing with that generosity. And of course, have fun because we intend to!

Lynne Rees and Sarah Salway

Note: We’ve had a number of queries about the deadline for posting responses so in order to be fair to everyone, particularly people posting from other countries, and continents, we can consider your response for publication if it’s posted on the site before 8am GMT the following morning.

Signed Copies of Messages

There's only 1 shopping day left to order signed copies of the new edition of Messages. You'll have read and responded to 30 of them during this month so why not get the book and have a further 270 writing prompts?

We can add personal dedications, e.g. To the most brilliant 'Your Messages' participant. We couldn't have done this without you, yes YOU... or something rather more subtle. Or we can sign them, as presents, from you to someone you know who will enjoy the book's playfullness.

The link to pre-order signed copies is on the left, and you can let us have specific dedications by email: sarah@sarahsalway.com and lynne@lynnerees.co.uk.

Lynne & Sarah