CALLING all Yorkies – the city’s library service has a challenge for YOU.

Explore bosses are inviting York people to write stories explaining what the city’s cultural life means to them.

The challenge – your story can only be six words long…

The idea is inspired by Ernest Hemingway, who once won a bet by writing the six-word story: ‘For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.’

Explore chief executive Jenny Layfield challenged library staff to come up with their own six-word stories, celebrating the idea of culture and what it means to York.

And they produced some beauties.

Laura, from the Explore Café team, wrote: 'Coffee conversation: life shared over counter'.

“This beautifully demonstrates the relationship we can have with our customers!” Jenny said.

Other six-word stories produced by Explore staff included:

  • 'Excited Voices. Little Hands. Contented Reading'
  • 'Endless possibilities, found at the Library'

Jenny said she was ‘brought to tears’ by some of the six-word stories her staff wrote.

So now she has widened the challenge to everybody living in York.

The idea is to celebrate York’s culture – and make a statement about how important it is to the city’s life.

“Culture makes places,” Jenny says, in a column in The Press today.

“Culture cements communities and is now the number one reason why people choose to live where they do.

"Cultural participation builds social cohesion, which in turn generates confidence and economic growth and so the cycle perpetuates.

"The cultural world is so optimistic, determined and dedicated to seeking solutions to society’s big issues like social justice, equality and diversity and climate change."

But across the country, the cultural sector - everything from libraries to theatre, music and the arts - is also vulnerable and at risk, as a result of funding cuts, she says.

Hence her challenge, which aims to raise awareness of just how important culture is to the lives of local people in York.

“Coming to York, I have been dazzled by the breadth of cultural offerings and opportunities and the broad array of groups, partnerships and communities supporting it," Jenny writes.

"I believe all of us value the culture in our lives, whatever form it takes.

"None of us wants to live in a society where these precious experiences are lost.

“I would like to challenge (the people of York) to find your six-word story to talk about what culture means to you and to share it with me.”

To take part in the six-word story challenge, simply write your story (six words only, please!) then email it to