Back to exhibition

Write till your ink be dry

Katharine Orton’s book – Ophelia’s Ghost-hunting Diary



Who created it?

Katharine Orton


I’m the author of three books for children aged 9-12 – Nevertell, Glassheart, and the latest one, Mountainfell.

About my Shakespeare-inspired book

This year’s challenge to make a book was a dream for me, because I LOVE making books. Ever since I was little I’ve been folding paper and sticking the sheets together so I can write my own stories and illustrate them. To be honest I cheated a little this time and got a ready-made notebook! BUT, I printed the title on the cover, wrote my own story, and drew all the pictures. I even pressed some daisies that were growing on my doorstep to go into the book too, because Ophelia loves flowers.

I decided to do Ophelia’s Ghost-Hunting Diary for a couple of reasons.

  • Ophelia is one of my favourite characters from Shakespeare’s plays, and I’ve always thought she gets a raw deal in the play. In fact, I think she probably has a worse time than Hamlet! So I wanted to give her a bit of excitement and fun in her life. Something that could be her own personal secret.
  • I asked myself the question: what would I do if I was bored and lonely and stuck in a draughty old castle? And I came up with the obvious answer… ghost hunting!


What’s your favourite Shakespeare quote, character or play?

As I’ve mentioned, my favourite character is Ophelia. My favourite play is probably Hamlet, too.

Try this!

If you’d like to write a diary for a character from Shakespeare, the possibilities are almost endless. You don’t need to know the play inside out either, because you are basically creating your very own story, and just borrowing as much or as little of the setting as you need to.

From one of the witches in Macbeth, to Ariel in The Tempest, perhaps you could write a diary from the point of view of your favourite character? Or, you could even make someone up yourself (maybe there’s a woodcutter in A Midsummer Night’s Dream who’s just trying to go about their business but keeps getting interrupted by fairies, or does Juliet – from Romeo and Juliet – have a friend she speaks to who we don’t know about?). You can make it as funny or as serious as you want – and it can be about the events in the play, or something totally made up.

Is there anything you could stick inside it too, to add to the story and make it extra interesting? Flowers, like in mine – coins maybe, or even something that could be funny, like a bus ticket? Have a think. Just remember to have fun!

Watch this!

You can see the whole 'Ghost-hunting diary' on this video. You'll need to pause the video to read the pages with more words.