The Invisible King, a collaborative picture book project, now live!

During  the lockdown that began at the end of March I continued engaging in creative activities, not just relating to work. One of them is writing stories. Really short ones. I also wrote a really long one over 20,000 words for my final MA project, well part of it. The other part of the storydress and both of them are connected.

One of the really short stories written in lockdown, is The Invisible King (only 88 words). An open ended story.

As I wanted to turn his story into an open ended collaborative picture book and share widely to raise funds for a good cause, I turned to colleagues from the Illustration pathway and some of their students to find out if they would like to work together to bring the story alive as a picture book. Their current show can be accessed at

We have worked over a number of weeks to make this happen and the final book can be seen below. I was impressed by the dedication and creative energy. The Invisible King is open and free to be downloaded and can be used respecting the open license we used. We used the following: CC BY-NC-SA: “This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms.” Find out more about it.

We have created an open inclusive book that invites the reader not just to read, but to create, using their own imagination and with others, the end of the story but also draw on the pages and add their imaginary world to it. Therefore each Invisible King story will be different. What is this story about? Read it and find out. Do you recognise this king?

I would like to thank everybody who contributed to bring this project to life especially my colleagues Louise Batchelor and Ben Greenhalgh and their students Evie Hurst, Lucas McCoy, Lucy Waterworth, Ellie Kilshaw, Lisa Silva, Will Fairbrother-Clarke, Marianne Storer, Georgina Moore, Ted Bain Smith,
Luisa Ventisei & Phaedra Maria Chatzidamianou, a 5-year old little girl.

I would also like to thank Tessa Strickland and Professor Malcolm Press for their valuable suggestions during the making process as well as my very supportive tutors Dr Judy Kendall and Dr Scott Thurston from the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Salford I am currently studying towards for reading and providing the following testimonials:

“This project will help to unlock imagination and creativity in young minds and at the same time engage future generations in the importance of working collectively across boundaries to create a more sustainable and socially just world.” Prof. Malcolm Press, Vice Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University

“This collaborative picture-book tracks the reign of King Covid with humour and vibrancy: a flight to outer space, an elephant mask and a wonderful toilet roll wall. To commended for its positivity, a book for our times.” Judy Kendall, Reader in English and Creative Writing, Programme Leader MA in Creative Writing: Innovation & Experimentation, University of Salford

“This vibrant and original book beautifully utilises creative collaboration to reimagine one of the greatest challenges to face humanity in living memory. Thought-provoking and necessary work.” Scott Thurston, Reader in English and Creative Writing, Director of Research for English, University of Salford

Would you like to read The Invisible King? You can access it at

Through the book we would like to raise money for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity at to support the most vulnerable during this pandemic. Be generous if you can. Thank you.

In the ManMet news  > Choose your own adventure, picture book to raise funds for COVID-19 support charity

Related publication

Nerantzi, C. (2020) The power of collective imagination, with contributions from Greenhalgh B and Batchelor, L., in: The work of imagination. Exploring the nature, role and value of imagination in learning, education, work and other aspects of life, Lifewide Education, No. 23, August 2020, pp. 118-122, available at

Stay safe and thank you all!