Literary Mystery Finally Solved - Almost…

In 1984, American author Chris Van Allsburg published a book called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. The highly unusual book consisted of a series of drawings with a title and a single line. The conceit that linked the drawings together - explained in a fictional editor’s note at the start of the book - is that each drawing was taken from a different book, created by a mysterious artist called Harris Burdick. The 14 drawings, effectively, were supposed to be samples by an illustrator who, in 1984, had left them at at the office of a children’s book editor called Peter Wenders, promising to return the following day with all 14 completed manuscripts. Harris Burdick, the story goes, never returned. The drawings are intended to be finely imagined prompts for readers to make up their own stories.

Now, 14 children’s authors, including Lemony Snicket, have taken Harris Burdick’s legacy to the next level. The authors - who include Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, Kate DiCamillo, MT Anderson, Linda Sue Park, Gregory Maguire and Jon Sciezska - have created stories to match the illustrations. The new book is called The Chronicles of Harris Burdick - here’s a preview.

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