Minister of the Month – Simon Moriarty
Meet fearless shopkeeper and intrepid writing mentor, Simon Moriarty, our February Minister of the Month.
Simon is great at scaring human customers and relates equally well to monsters as a shopkeeper at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies. Until work stole him away to China – we hope only temporarily – you could find Simon most Saturdays in the shop and many week-days in writing workshops.
Name: Simon Moriarty
Volunteer role: Writing Mentor/Shopkeeper
Live: London, mostly. Shanghai, temporarily.
Favourite story & why:
Watership Down. It’s scary, exciting, brutal, fantastical, beautifully written and one of those books that stays with you. Oh, and anything Sherlock Holmes related, naturally…
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I work in consumer research in London, which I’ve been doing for about nine years, although I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve travelled a lot too, and was once a teacher in Ghana where I looked after classes of around 60 kids. That had some interesting moments!
Why did you decide to volunteer with Ministry of Stories?
The idea of being involved in something so unique, and getting to work with young people on different projects, really appealed. It’s not just about ‘helping kids’, the Ministry of Stories is an entire world of creativity and adventure.
Were you nervous about anything before starting?
I’d heard that the goblins who patrol the monster supply shop were evil, so I was a bit nervous about them, but turns out they’re pretty harmless.
What has been the best experience of volunteering?
So many to choose from! I’m going to say when one of the boys at the Saturday morning club who had never shared his work with the group before got-up and presented a newspaper article he’d written. He did it without any prompting, after we’d spent some time working on it together.
What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?
It’s become quite addictive! As soon as I started volunteering as a mentor and in the shop, I wanted to keep coming back for more.
Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words
What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?
Do it, do it, do it, do it. Go on. Do it. Please.