Archive for the ‘Book Festival News’ Category

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, London SW13 Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May 2017

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

London’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival will be returning to south west London for the third year, on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May, and tickets are in demand, with some sessions already sold out!


Bigger and better than ever, the programme includes more than sixty events for children of all ages, including author talks, workshops, story time and craft sessions, music, film and much more.


There is an exciting mix of bestselling authors and illustrators, up and coming new writers, and household names. Highlights include the former Children’s Laureates Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne, star author-artist Nick Sharratt and Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon. They’ll be joined by a few famous faces including comedians David Baddiel and Adrian Edmondson, popular television presenters Clare Balding and Lucy Worsley, and radio personality Christian O’Connell. Other authors and illustrators on the programme include Ed Vere, MG Leonard, Michelle Robinson, Lisa Stickley, Sophy Henn and Book Trust Illustrator in Residence, Sarah MacIntyre.


Special events this year include illustrator, Axel Scheffler appearing alongside Barnes Resident and Mog creator, Judith Kerr in an event called When Zog met Mog – not to be missed! Another exclusive is an interview with Little Princess creator and top illustrator, Tony Ross. You can also experience the interactive Harry Potter show, a new production of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes set to live music, and an exclusive screening of the short animation based on Jon Klassen’s award-winning I Want My Hat Back.


Tickets are on sale now at: where the full programme can be found.

Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 30 Apr – 2 May 2017

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

CLICK HERE to win tickets to see Piers Torday at the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival.

There’s something for everyone in our impressive line-up this year. We have authors of biography, memoir and musings; writers of fiction, historical and heroic; stories for children of nature, family and friends; lively storytelling shows and a musical theatre performance for all the family. From the making of the British landscape, to the history of the Great War, from good mood food to coping with bereavement, from Brexit and Trump to great lives well lived – we’ve got a surplus of literary treats lined up, and a few surprises.

Bank Holiday Monday sees a range of author events for all the family along with storytelling shows for children, a Comic Art Masterclass, Sock Puppet Shakespeare, a tour of Chiddingstone with a local historian and much more. Tuesday’s Schools Day offers local pupils the chance to hear top children’s authors inspire and celebrate reading and imagination.

Come for one event or stay all day. Enjoy delicious food from our vintage vans, tea and cakes from our tea rooms, drinks from the bar and Larkins beer. All tickets to the festival include free entry to the castle and its collections. We are delighted to welcome back Sevenoaks Bookshop as our festival booksellers, and look forward to hosting literacy charity Beanstalk for Kent and Book Activist Victoria Dilly. A huge thank you to all our supporters, generous sponsors and donors, volunteers and book-lovers for helping us bring some very special authors to this beautiful historic house in West Kent.

To find out more and buy tickets visit

October and November Children’s Book Festivals. Loogabarooga Festival, Petworth Liteary Festival and BridLit Kids

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

 Michael Rosen, Julian Clary and Harry Potter exhibition coming to Loughborough for Loogabarooga Festival 2016.

loogabarooga-logoThe programme of events for this year’s Loogabarooga Festival of children’s illustrated literature includes many new highlights for families and children who love reading to see and hear from 19-24 October 2016 at venues across Loughborough.

Performers, workshops and exhibitions at Loogabarooga Festival 2016 include Michael Rosen, best-selling children’s author and poet, and former Children’s Laureate; comedian, entertainer and writer, Julian Clary reading from his latest book, The Bolds To The Rescue; and the Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition at Charnwood Museum, an illustrated reimagining of the blockbuster classic, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Tickets for all of the free and paid events can be booked online at Copies of the free programme will be available to collect from Loughborough Town Hall, Charnwood Borough Council offices, Charnwood Museum and venues across Loughborough and Charnwood.

Following the success of the inaugural Festival in 2015, this year’s programme will also include free creative drop-in workshops, storytelling sessions, advice on how to write and illustrate your own book, with appearances from some of the nation’s favourite children’s authors and illustrators.

Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough said: “This year’s Loogabarooga Festival promises to be better than ever. The programme is packed full of exciting events and Loughborough is looking forward to welcoming some very special guests. There is a real buzz around the 2016 festival and I am looking forward to taking part in what promises to be a thrilling line-up.”

For all of the latest information, follow the Festival on Facebook at or on Twitter @loogabarooga16



petworth-lit-logoAward-winning family theatre company Story Pocket Theatre is performing at Petworth Festival’s 6th annual Literary Weekend on Saturday 5 November at 10.30am in the Leconfield Hall, Petworth.

The written and spoken word are celebrated in an enchanting performance of Storyteller Storyteller; genuine family fun that culminates in a feast of clowning, physical silliness and magical storytelling without words. Tickets cost £8 for adults and £6 for young people and children aged 18 years and under.

Stewart Collins, Artistic Director of Petworth Festival commented, “The addition of Story Pocket Theatre to our literary repertoire is a brand new take on our policy of engaging with all age groups and the family audience. Suitable for all ages from 3 to 103, Storyteller Storyteller underlines the Festival’s commitment to engaging young people in an educational, inspiring and highly entertaining way.

Established just three years ago in 2013, Story Pocket Theatre was set up from a passion to produce beautiful, wonderful and magical theatre for families and to keep the classic stories alive in an inventive and exciting way. The company has received various accolades. They were winners of the Primary Times Children’s Choice Award, 2014 and the ThreeWeeks Editor’s Choice Award at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015.

Petworth Festival Literary Weekend is a unique opportunity to see and meet a wealth of literary greats, up and coming authors as well as high-profile luminaries with fascinating life stories to share.

For more information call 01798 343055 or email Tickets on sale by telephone 01798 344576 or on-line at


BridLit Kids at the Lyric Theatre, Bridport – Saturday 12 November

Following the success of last year’s event, BridLit Kids returns to the Lyric Theatre with an extended programme to appeal to a wide age range, where we hope there will be something for everyone:






10 – 11am (3 – 7 yrs) –  The boundless creative energy and fun from storyteller Martin Maudesely and musician and songster Declan Duffy will entertain the youngest among us (and the young at heart!). Children £3/ Adults Free


12 – 1pm (8 yrs and upwards) – Charlie Fuge will lead an illustration workshop (booking recommended) bringing a wealth of talent and experience from his own wide ranging work to guide young hands. Pencil and sketchpad included. Supported by Bridport Arts and Crafts. £5


2 – 3pm (8 yrs and upwards) – Best-selling author Angie Sage of the popular Septimus Heap series, will introduce the latest addition to TodHunter Moon books. A fantastic opportunity to meet a world class author with time for questions and answers after. Children £3/Adults Free


We want to put children’s literature firmly on the Bridport map so come along and celebrate the world of magic and the imagination in this fabulous day of words, pictures, stories and song.


Full programme information Tickets: Bridport Tourist Information Centre 01308 424901


Children’s Book Festival News, YA Shot 22 October, Family Arts Festival

Monday, September 5th, 2016

YA SHOT Saturday 22 October 2016 Uxbridge (London)

ya_shotYA Shot is a not-for-profit one-day literary festival involving around 70 top Young Adult and Middle Grade authors in a programme of 35 workshop, in-conversation and panel events in the centre of Uxbridge. The event is run in partnership with Hillingdon Council & Hillingdon Borough Libraries, Waterstones Uxbridge and is supported by an Arts Council Grant.


From Adventure to Historical Fiction, Fantasy to Crime, and Comedy to Sci-Fi there are events for readers of all interests, including panels on friendship, poverty, feminism in fantasy novels, the role of music in young people’s lives, and the impact of being a teen in the digital age, as well as workshops on intersectional feminism, fantasy world-building, and strong opening chapters. There are also 7 fantastic workshops from top book-vloggers and bloggers. This year’s authors include Tanya Landman (Carnegie Medal winner), Michelle Harrison (Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner) and several authors shortlisted for the YA Book Prize (including Holly Bourne, Melinda Salisbury and Catherine Johnson), as well as many other bestselling, award-winning and critically claimed authors such as Alexia Casale, Holly Smale, Jenny McLachlan, Jenny Downham and Samantha Shannon.


The money raised from ticket sales supports a year-long Libraries-Schools Programme of up to 35 free author visits to 1-3 different library systems each year. The chosen library systems distribute the events across their libraries, which then invite in local schools (with priority going to disadvantaged schools) to enjoy the opportunity to meet a fantastic author in order to inspire a love of reading, a passion for creative writing and aspirations to a career in the Arts.


The evidence about the importance of author visits is incredibly compelling: a major survey by the Society of Authors recently showed that they have a profound and lasting impact on all areas of educational achievement and development, as well as empathy, social skills and social engagement. All pupils in schools that organised a visit were positively engaged including (and particularly) reluctant readers and those with Special Educational Needs. However, with cuts to library funding in schools and the public sector, author visits are a luxury that only some can afford – but often it’s those schools and students most in need who don’t have access. We want to help fill this gap and provide young people with the opportunity to experience a huge book event – but locally and affordably. And for those who aren’t local, we are rolling out the Libraries-Schools Programme nationally to help support libraries across the UK in the face of the swinging cuts damaging their capacity to cater for schools and people.


All-day tickets are £20 for an adult, £15 concession (including students and under 18s; minimum age 7, under 12s must be accompanied). Ticket are available direct from: – there are no booking, postage or other fees.


Get Creative Family Arts Festival – UK wide events throughout October 2016


The fourth edition of the Get Creative Family Arts Festival presents an extraordinary variety of activities for the whole family, suitable for all age groups during October 2016.


From site specific public art, award-winning musicals and plays, innovative performances and workshops to spectacular science shows, the festival covers activities across a wide spectrum of disciplines.


Essential listings for families wanting to experience something new can be found at where you can search by postcode, date, artform or age suitability. The Family Arts Standards badge tells you that whether they’re a theatre, an art gallery, an orchestra or a dance company, the organization will be welcoming to families, with helpful staff, good facilities, considered pricing and information to help families decide what is or isn’t suitable for them and their children.


Organisations including Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, National Portrait Gallery, HOME, Opera North, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Battersea Arts Centre, Dance Umbrella, Black Theatre Live, Nottingham Playhouse, Victoria Art Gallery, Artes Mundi and St. David’s Hall among others, are already signed up for this year’s programme.


Some festival highlights:


Snowdogs by the Sea

kids-festivalUnquestionably one of the most joyful festival attractions, these playful sculptures are so much more than a public art trail adorning Brighton and Hove’s streets, parks and surprise locations. Inspired by the animated short film The Snowman and The Snowdog, which is based on the book by Raymond Briggs, each of the 40 giant Snowdogs has its own, unique character and is specially decorated by artists. A pack of Snowdog puppy sculptures, designed by school children, will also join the art trail at Brighton Museum, Hove Museum and Jubilee library throughout the event.


To infinity and beyond! Family Arts Festival in space…

With astronaut Tim Peake having reignited our passion for space exploration, the festival offers some educational, inspiring and quirky cosmic treats. Internationally acclaimed beat-boxer Shlomo retells how studying astrophysics led him to become a performer, TV astronomer and author Mark Thompson promises to bring the Universe a little closer with his Spectacular Science show, while The Ministry of Science Live is looking at the inventors who shaped the modern world we live in. At the same time, The Courtyard Centre for Arts in Hereford is organising an unpredictable Space Jam including aerial performances, dance shows, storytelling from the Space and the essential lightsaber combat workshop for Star Wars fans. The boy who climbed into the moon, based on the book by David Almond and adapted by Daniel Jamieson, the acclaimed production of Alfie White Space Explorer, Underneath a Magical Moon by leading playwright Mike Kenny, and the multimedia solo performance The Unparalleled Adventure of one Hans Pfaall all exploring the fascinating worlds of outer space.


Theatre delights

BAFTA award-winning presenter Justin Fletcher, AKA Mr Tumble, is stepping into the role of Stationmaster Mr Perks for one month only, making the popular stage adaptation of E. Nesbit’s classic novel The Railway Children. Another festival ‘must-see’ event will be Chittty Chitty Bang Bang with an all-star cast including Jason Manford as Caractacus Potts, Claire Sweeney as Baroness Bomburst and Phill Jupitus as Lord Scrumptious.


Continuing its relationship with award-winning author and former Patron Michael Morpurgo, the festival is proud to include in its programme The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, a “life-affirming” tender story of war and prejudice, and Why the whales came an enchanting tale brought to life by award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller. War Horse: The Story in Concert, features Michael Morpurgo as narrator, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra performing a specially arranged score. Drawing live on stage Olivier, Tony and OBIE award-winning British designer Rae Smith will create animated illustrations of the book.


There are six events in the festival dedicated to the Shakespeare 400 anniversary celebrations. The bard’s greatest tragedy Hamlet is presented by an all black cast, for the first time in Britain, under the direction of Jeffery Kissoon. Adapted especially for young audiences, Macbeth (Blood Will Have Blood) re-tells the timeless story of ambition, greed and abuse of power, while the productions of The Tempest, Bardolph’s Box and Romeo and Juliet make Shakespeare’s work accessible to toddlers and kids.


Inspirational people

The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl. Embark on a magical and interactive journey and discover the secrets of a writer beloved by children of all ages. Learn about Roald Dahl’s extraordinary life and the surprising inspiration for his most famous characters and stories. The tour features unique items from the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre archives. Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake and Bad Things is a brand-new exhibition about Michael Rosen’s most popular books. Through hidden rooms and brilliant clues families can discover what inspired the author’s writing. “This exhibition is one of the most exciting things to have happened in my writing career… I am so looking forward to it.” Steve Backshall’s Wild World. Wildlife TV Presenter, adventurer, naturalist and children’s author, Steve Backshall, takes you on a tour of the real life expeditions that have inspired his books The Falcon Chronicles and his new novel in the series, Shark Seas.


Click here to enter our free prize draw: we have a BOX SET OF DAVID WALLIAMS BOOKS and a SELECTION OF 6 MICHAEL MORPURGO BOOKS to give away courtesy of the Family Arts Festival. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation. Draw closes on Friday 30 September. The winners will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 5 October 2016.


For more information and to search for events near you visit:

Autumn Children’s Book Festival News

Monday, July 25th, 2016

There’s a bumper crop of children’s book festivals to choose from this autumn; win Roald Dahl tickets at Henley Literary Festival (26 Sept-2 Oct), Bath Children’s Literature Festival (1-9 Oct), Wigtown Book Festival (23 Sept-2 Oct), Chiswick Book Festival (15-19 Sept) and Jersey Festival of Words (28 Sept-2 Oct).


HENLEY LITERARY FESTIVAL – 26 September-2 October



On Friday 30 September at 4.30pm

Some of the UK’s favourite children writers will appear at the 10th annual Henley Literary Festival this autumn with over 50 events for children and families include Lucy Worsley, Julian Clary, One Show reporter Mike Dilger and Tiger Who Came To Tea creator Judith Kerr, as well as special Harry Potter and Roald Dahl events.


Don’t be biffsquiggled! Win a family ticket to come and join word wizards Fiona Ross and Sarah-Jane Arbury as they swashboggle their way through the wonderful writing of Roald Dahl. Through games and performance find out how to gobblefunk with words and find out about the amazing new Roald Dahl Dictionary. Suitable for ages 7+ taking place in the Kenton Theatre on Friday 30 September at 4.30pm.


Click here to enter our free prize draw: we have a family ticket (for 2 adults and 2 children) to give away to the Roald Dahl event on Friday 30 September at 4.30pm. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation. Draw closes on 29 August 2016. The winners will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 2 September 2016.


THE BATH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FESTIVAL – Saturday 1 October – Sunday 9 October




David Walliams, Liz Pichon, Chris Hadfield, Michael Morpurgo, Malorie Blackman & Simon Mayo, Chris Riddell, Chris Hoy, Nick Sharratt, Chris Packham, Clare Balding, Julian Clary, Lucy Worsley, Axel Scheffler, Andy Day, Cerrie Burnell, Sam and Mark, Lucy Cousins & Maisy, Frances Hardinge and so many more….


The Bath Children’s Literature Festival will celebrate their 10th birthday with an outstanding line-up of well known and much loved authors and illustrators.


Over the last 10 years, the festival has seen over 2,500 events, some 600 school events in central Bath and further afield, and a staggering ¼ million kids and families attending from a demographic range of 50,000 miles. That’s the equivalent of flying around the globe – twice!


To mark this special occasion, the festival’s aim is to create a legacy that will inspire children to read, write, draw and develop their creativity. There are many events for children to participate in such as The Big Bath Read, which encourages children to read and discuss the book Hamish and the Worldstoppers written by Danny Wallace and illustrated by Jamie Littler. There will be an array of creative writing masterclasses including a Dr Who adventure with the author of several Dr Who novels and audio dramas, Andrew Lane; a journalism workshop run the by children’s newspaper, First News; a poetry workshop with performance poet, Joseph Coelho from CBeebies Rhyme Rocket; a collage workshop with award-winning illustrator Britta Teckentrup and writing workshops hosted by Skellig author, David Almond and MA Writing for Young People course director, Julia Green.


The festival is for children of all ages, from 18 months up to 18 years. This year’s young adult (YA) programme includes an extensive range of events including a discussion between Malorie Blackman and Simon Mayo about all things YA; best-selling author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas; Cecelia Ahern and Sophie Kinsella who make their debut into the world of YA and acclaimed and prize-winning author of The Book of Dead Days, Marcus Sedgwick, to name but a few.”


2016 is also an important year for many of the festival’s authors. Peter Rabbit will be celebrating 150 years of Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl’s 100th year will be marked with a workshop to decide his most villainous villain, Winnie-the-Pooh will reach the ripe old age of 90 and Maisy the Mouse celebrates her 25th birthday. Many happy returns!


Tickets are now on sale. To purchase tickets call the Bath Box Office on 01225 463362 or book online at


Book tickets and view the full programme.


Twitter: (@Bathfestivals)



WIGTOWN BOOK FESTIVAL 23 September – 2 October

Every autumn thousands of people descend on a small town in Dumfries and Galloway to experience Scotland’s greatest literary party.

WigtownBF-Tree-LogoNow in its 18th year, the award-winning festival has more than 240 events and activities for all ages across its 10 days, including 35 especially for the 0-12 age group and a dedicated young people’s festival for 13-25s. It has featured many of our most loved children’s authors from Scotland and beyond and this year includes Vivian French, Chae Strathie, Theresa Breslin, Debi Gliori, Philip Ardagh and many more. There are storytelling sessions, workshops and play activities for children, as well as panel debates, dinners and arts events to entertain and inspire the adults.

Anne Barclay, Operational Director of Wigtown Festival Company, organises the children’s festival with input from parents, teachers and children. She says, “We’re really excited about all of the fantastic events we have planned for this year. We have a dedicated venue in Wigtown Primary School which will be decorated beyond recognition and has great facilities all in one place. We’re especially looking forward to our James and the Giant Peach reading den which has been made by local artist Julie Houston.”

As Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown offers the perfect space to explore fresh ideas for the whole family – just one reason why it has grown to become the biggest Scottish book festival outside the central belt. Come and join us and inspire our next generation of readers and writers.

Full programme launches in August, for information and tickets visit



Top comedy writers and performers will bring a fresh look to the 8th Chiswick Book Festival, alongside many of Britain’s best-loved novelists, non-fiction writers and children’s authors. Andy Hamilton, Shappi Khorsandi and Mark Watson will talk about their new novels, while the creators of the best-selling ‘Ladybirds for Grown-Ups‘ series, Joel Morris and Jason Hazely, will preview their latest ‘How To…’ books due out this autumn.


Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Cressida Cowell head the Children’s Book Festival line-up, talking about their bestsellers and introducing their latest books. Children will also be entertained by Jonathan Meres (World of Norm), Rob Biddulph (Odd Dog Out) and the Really Big Pants Theatre Company.


All this and much more will take place at the 8th Chiswick Book Festival from September 15 to 19, 2016, in a variety of venues close to Turnham Green tube station on the District Line. The Festival is a non-profit-making community event, raising money for reading-related charities and St Michael & All Angels Church, which organises the Festival.

The full programme is published at the end of July, when tickets go on sale at You can follow updates and join in the conversation on Twitter @W4BookFest #ChiswickBookFest.


JERSEY FESTIVAL OF WORDS 28 September-2 October

The children’s programme for the second Jersey Festival of Words will feature leading writers including former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural Jersey Festival of Words, when thousands of Island children and young adults had the chance to experience top authors at close quarters, there will once again be an extensive schools programme offering free tickets to all schools across Jersey.


Sponsored by the One Foundation, it will feature the entertaining performance poet and writer A.F.Harrold, Jim Smith, author of the Barry Loser series, Chris Bradford’s spectacular Young Samurai and Young Bodyguard shows and for young adults, William Sutcliffe and Eugene Lambert.


For further information and the full line up visit:

Children’s Book Festival News for July

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Camp Bestival – 28 – 31 July

Hoo’s Kids Book Fest Wednesday 31 August

Edinburgh Book Festival

13-29 August

Read on for more info about all the events




28-31 July at Lulworth Castle



















Stepping out of the airlock and into the unknown, The Literary Institute is Spacecamp Lulworth’s epicentre of intergalactic genius. An astronomical oasis of enlightenment. Don’t miss out on the Literary Institute’s cultivated delights when Camp Bestival heads into Outer Space this July 28-31 at Lulworth Castle.

Our learned leader Rob da Bank says: “The Literary institute is a one of the most amazing things at Camp Bestival. Giving the grown-ups a relaxing retreat while the kids have a ball, there’s tons of inspirational stuff from talks and quizzes to some of the best poets around. I always learn something new and amazing whenever I head in there and with this year’s Outer Space theme you can guarantee it’s going to be out of this world!”

Cruising a cosmos of jaw-dropping space facts and heroic ski jumps to the unquestionable delights of a delicious vino, The Literary Institute will have amazing spoken word, quizzes, talks and more, including The Eagle Who Dared with Eddie The Eagle, a mischievous storybook experience featuring Roald Dahl’s Stories with the Imagination Seekers, comedy from The Scummy Mummies Show, Leap – Good Cop Bad War, The Secret Mummies Wine Club hosted by The Scummy Mummies with guest speaker Sara Cox and wines provided by The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, interactive story workshops from Flash Fiction, The Camp Bestival Space Pop Quiz with John Harris and Lighting The Campfire: Sparks For The Future Of Social Networking With Campfire Convention.

Sharing esoteric and hard to find knowledge has made our How To sessions some of the Literary Institutes’ most popular attractions. This year’s insights include How To Travel to Space with Stephen Attenborough from Virgin Galactic, Bring Out Your Inner Alien with Claire Freedman, Embrace Your Inner Geek Girl with Holly Smale, Create A Children’s Book in a Day with Sam Curry, Have A Beginner’s Adventure On Your Doorstep with Andy Torbet, Create Cured Food Magic with Steven Lamb, Spice Yourself Slim with Kalpna Woolf, Get Kids (And Dads) Off Sugar with Beverley Glock, Have A Happier Household with Gavin Presman, Make People Split Their Sides and Laugh Their Heads Off with Tiernan Douieb, Read Rivers with Kevin Parr, Explore The Last Untouched Places On The Planet with Monty Hall and How To Make Camp Bestival!

And, as ever, we will have some of the very finest spoken word artists around at The Satin Lizard Lounge Curated by Scroobius Pip, including Chris Redmond, Hollie McNish, Cecillia Knapp, Jodi Ann Bickley, Mark Grist, Jess Green, Raymond Antrobus, Rob Auton, and Joe Howell. And we’ll also have performances from the incredible Roundhouse Poetry Collective, with compere Jack Rooke.

Summer is coming and tickets are flying. Don’t miss out. And keep on checking the website





This year the Baillie Gifford Children and Young People’s programme of the Edinburgh International Book Festival will question whether age-related classifications are inhibiting the way people read and perceive certain genres of fiction and authors.

Janet Smyth, Director of the Book Festival’s Children’s programme, comments: “YA author Frances Hardinge won the Costa Book of the Year with her novel The Lie Tree which was published as Young Adult fiction but clearly of a quality to stand alongside any great adult novelist. I do worry that YA fiction, the major publishing creation of the last decade, means many readers will never experience some wonderful writing. Some of the bravest, boldest and darkest fiction is currently being created but it is often too readily overlooked. If Salinger had been writing Catcher in the Rye today it would have been classified as YA.”

Young Adult sales have soared, outselling adult fiction 25:1 in recent years and in 2016 the Book Festival will welcome many leading YA authors including Anne Cassidy, Simon Mayo, John Boyne, transgender author Juno Dawson, Alaskan author Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock and Cat Clarke.

On Monday 22 August the development and future of Young Adult fiction will be argued in the Great YA Debate between Anthony McGowan and Elizabeth Wein chaired by Daniel Hahn, and involving a wider audience that will include authors Annabel Pitcher, Christopher Edge, Jenny Downham and Patrice Lawrence.

Well known for their adult books, PS I Love You and Shopaholic, Cecelia Ahern and Sophie Kinsella will be presenting their first children’s books Flawed and Finding Audrey. Julia Donaldson is back with three new books across four events, including one with the Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler. Famed for The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Mog series Judith Kerr presents her first new novel in 37 years, Mister Cleghorn’s Seal.

Illustration is a major part of children’s publishing and features widely in the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme. Alex T Smith is the 2016 illustrator in residence, presenting his many characters through fun workshops, Big Draws and interviews. Jim Kay presents the first look at the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone while French graphic novelist Barroux returns to Charlotte Square Gardens and joins Chris Haughton and Emer Stamp in an event highlighting creative practices and techniques for illustrators.

Young children’s favourite David Melling’s Hugless Douglas questions if food can be yummy without honey in his new book Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake. Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell has been invited to present The Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture concentrating on the importance of giving all children access to books.   Riddell will also bring his own characters to life, encouraging his audience to ask questions that he will draw answers to live in front of his audience.

Big Draw events have been so popular in recent years that they’ve been increased by 100 percent across the whole programme. The free events in the Baillie Gifford Storybox are a chance for all children to get involved in a major artwork led by an author/illustrator in a community atmosphere where all abilities are encouraged.  Author/illustrators hosting Big Draws in 2016 include Debi Gliori, Matt Spink, Hrefna Bragadottir and husband and wife team, Ana and Thiago de Moraes.

2016 is also the year of big birthdays for many treasured children’s characters. Throughout the Festival there will be parties and events celebrating Paddington Bear turning 60, The Broons and Oor Wullie at 80 and Winnie-the-Pooh reaching 90 and reciting a poem to the Queen.  Other key anniversaries include 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter at 150 and 400 years since the death of Shakespeare.

Word wizards Sara-Jane Arbury and Fiona Ross reveal the wondercrump of Roald Dahl’s vocabulary in their Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary, gloriumptious gobblefunk! The ‘Dick and Dom’ of Australian children’s TV, The Listies, present their disgusting dictionary of revolting worlds, scribbles and poo-etry in Ickypedia.

The Baillie Gifford’s Children’s Programme is an integral part of the world’s leading Book Festival, and this year a new world record will be attempted in Charlotte Square Gardens as authors Craig Glenday and Stephen Daultry present the latest edition of Guinness World Records 2017.

For further information and to book tickets visit:



HOO’S KIDS BOOK FEST Wednesday 31 August – Luton Hoo Walled Garden, LU1 4LF


Books, bears, history and magic in the Walled Garden in August

‘Exit, pursued by a bear’ is a well-known Shakespearian stage direction which we hope won’t be needed for the Hoo’s Kids Book Fest Summer Day on Wednesday August 31st from 10.30 a.m -15.30 pm in the Luton Hoo Estate Walled Garden!

David Litchfield will be reading from his book “The Bear and the Piano” while children can make masks and join his Bear Band to sing favourite bear songs!  Humorous horror stories with Guy Bass from his Stitch Head books can be heard, Nigel Baines, will be drawing live and Lou Treleaven will show you how to make a crazy car!

This popular festival will also feature a two-metre long view of British history by Christopher Lloyd and if you bring a hat you can help Professor Pango Mango create poems in the Poetry Cart.

A celebratory crown with cut paper artist, Vanessa Stone can be made and illustrator, Livi Gosling, will be creating a fantasy walled garden.  Take a tour of the actual historic walled garden designed by Capability Brown where some plants and produce including Luton Hoo honey can be taken home.

Chorleywood Bookshop will be selling books with authors signing them.

Tickets available from 1 July at where you can find full details of the Festival events.

Watch out for exciting updates for our 2016 Festival at and by following us @hoosbookfest , Facebook, Pinterest

Evesham – All the fun of the Festival 1 – 3 July

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Evesham Festival of Words offers a fantastic day out for all the family on Saturday 2 July. The programme is jam packed with performances, workshops and events to keep both the young and the young at heart entertained the whole day!

2016 sees the first Festival of Words for the town and organisers have worked passionately to bring a mix of entertainment, information and amusement for festival visitors of all ages. The three day event opens on Friday 1st July, and Saturday includes a special programme, designed specifically with children and families in mind. This won’t be like school; the only thing the kids need to bring with them is their imagination!


Saturday’s fun starts at 10.30am when Roz Streeten, creator of the enormously successful Rosie Flo and Johnnie Flo colouring books, welcomes four to seven year olds to her ‘Make your own colouring book’ workshop. At 12.30pm, Roz continues the fun on the same theme, but this time for six to nine year olds.


When the colouring book is all done, make way me hearties and man the mainbrace to meet local children’s author and the Festival’s pirate expert, Julie Fulton. Ideal for children aged three to seven, Julie will regale her young audience with swashbuckling stories and piraty poems. The session will round off with a chance for everyone to get creative and write their very own pirate rhyme.


The morning workshops will have worked up an appetite and you are cordially invited to bring your own picnic to The Almonry Museum Garden, which is open to all festival goers and provides an oasis of calm in the hectic town centre.


After a well earned lunch, join children’s authors: Ann Evans and Karen King at Evesham Town Hall, for storytelling. The 2pm – 2.40pm session is aimed at children aged four to seven years and then our authors change pace at 3pm when children aged eight and over will learn how to develop characters in their own stories. Our two authors bring the children’s programme to a close with a 4pm workshop ‘Questions and Answers – Writing and Getting Published’. The workshop is suitable for anyone aged seven and above, so plenty of opportunity for mum, dad, gran or grandad to join in on this one.


Festival organisers Bottom of Form

ask that for everyone’s safety, children under seven are accompanied by an adult. Tickets for the workshop are available online at or from The Almonry, Vine Street, Evesham. The Almonry picnic event is free of charge and booking is not necessary.

The 2016 Betjeman Poetry Prize for young poets aged 10-13

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Only 7 weeks to go till the DEADLINE on 31st JULY 2016

Now in its 10th anniversary year (huzzah!), the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will be sifting through your poems with her co-judge, the brilliant artist and poet Imtiaz Dharker to find the winner of the 2016 Betjeman Poetry Prize. Imtiaz and Carol Ann are looking for emotion, imagery and rhythm. Above all, they want to hear your voice. Play with words and write a poem about ‘place’.

The winner takes home £500 for their own pocket (and £500 for their school.)! Finalists read their poems in London at St Pancras Station on National Poetry Day in front of an impressive audience. The top fifty poems will be published in the 2016 Betjeman Poetry Prize Anthology.
You can enter online or by post. Or beg your English teachers to teach you how to do it and encourage them to enter the WHOLE CLASS. See for past winners, writing tips, full prize list and entry details.

Have fun while you learn how to write poems with Betjeman Poetry Prize ambassador and celebrated poet Harry Man, who will be delivering his fantastic poetry workshops at the Feast Festival at Waddesdon Manor, Bucks THIS WEEKEND – Sat 18 & Sun 19 June

‘What It’s Like To Be…’ with Harry Man
One hour workshops at 12pm and 3pm

The tallest! The shortest! The strongest! The smallest! The biggest! The sweetest! The baddest! The most amazing magician in the world! Or what is like to be shy? Or to have curly hair? What’s it like to be YOU? We will be looking at ways to write about what makes us truly unique, and drawing some inspiration from famous characters who might give us some rather excellent ideas… Harry Man takes new poets through a 1 hour workshop exploring who we are, and what makes us so unique. Word games and writing exercises and surprising discussions abound. No previous poetry experience necessary!
Harry Man was Poet in Residence at StAnza Poetry Festival in St. Andrews, Scotland 2016. His pamphlet, Lift was published by Tall Lighthouse in 2013. In 2014 he won the UNESCO Bridges of Struga Award. He’s a 2016 Hawthornden Fellow and his next pamphlet is called Finders Keepers and is published by Sidekick Books.
This event is sponsored by the Betjeman Poetry Prize, a writing competition for children aged 10-13.

Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival 22-30 July

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

The owners of the Chicken and Frog Bookshop in Brentwood, Essex are launching an annual literary festival for children (and their grown-ups). The first festival will take place 22–30 July 2016, and with 17 separate events to choose from, you’ll be hard pressed to narrow it down to just one! But with ticket costs heavily subsidized by the charity, the price of just £3 per event means that you can meet a favourite author or two or three, without breaking the bank.


The Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival has children very much in mind, with a cross section of authors and illustrators to suit ages from pre-school to teen. This is far more than a meet and greet festival, although you’ll get the chance to say hello and ask your chosen authors to sign books (available to purchase) on the day. Choose from Abi Elphinstone, AF Harrold, Giles Paley-Philips, Laura Dockrill, Nikki Sheehan and Sara Grant. Both Sara Grant and J.D.Irwin are going to be running writing workshops, David O’Connell will be leading a writing and illustration workshop and you can rest assured that all of the authors and illustrators will be on hand to answer your questions about their books and what it’s really like to create one.

Highlights include: the absolute legend behind Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs, Ian Whybrow, will be appear on Friday 29th July. A lot of people who write books have nasty, dangerous, horrible things happen to them when they’re young. In that sense, Ian missed out. In 1989, while he was running an English Department he began to think seriously about writing something for children. Then he started running a Sixth Form. Several years later he decided to re-invent himself as an author and aren’t we glad that he did! Harry is famous the world over and a firm favourite for young children (and teachers, too). You are sure to learn how to roar like a dinosaur during the afternoon, so bring along your fiercest voices!

Undeniable ‘Queen of Tween’, Karen McCombie, is performing on Monday 25th July. The best-selling author loves writing, crisps, nattering and cats, in no particular order. With more than 80 books published and translated around the world, Karen is a busy, busy author, but never too busy to think of new ideas and appear at lovely events like the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival. Karen will be talking about the inspiration behind brand new time-slip mystery ‘The Whispers of Wilderwood Hall’, as well as her evacuee novel ‘Catching Falling Stars’, which is set here in Essex.

Award winning author Nikki Sheehan is the youngest daughter of a rocket scientist. After a degree in linguistics her first job was subtitling The Simpsons, followed by a career in journalism. Her first novel, Who Framed Klaris Cliff? won the North Herts Book Award for 2015. Nikki is also a story mentor for Little Green Pig (part of the Ministry of Stories) taking story writing into schools in Brighton where she lives with her family and too many pets. You can meet Nikki on Wednesday 27th July.

For full details of what’s on offer, visit the website where you can order your tickets at the click of a button or call 01277 230068

Haydays – Hay Literary Festival’s Children Fest – 26 May to 5 June 2016

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

From Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading4kids editorial expert and Director of this year’s Hay Fever.


Half term is almost here and with half term comes Haydays, the Hay Festival children’s festival. Nine days jam-packed with opportunities to enter the vibrant world of children’s books.

There are many delights to being the Director of a Haydays but the main one is that I know we can give all children the chance to enter the world of the stories that they love. Apart from the absolute pleasure of hearing about what it takes to be a writer or illustrator, or why fantasy worlds feed the imagination so well, or writing and illustrating, or the importance of family in stories, it is well-established that the children’s love of reading is fostered and enhanced by listening to an author and going behind the scenes of a story. Thus pleasure and education are intertwined to benefit all.


During the nine days of Haydays, there are over 100 events giving children the chance to hear favourite authors speaking about best-loved characters. Julia Donaldson launches the festival with a star cast, including herself, performing in a sneaky preview of her new character Detective Dog Nell, heroine of the forthcoming The Detective Dog before Francesca Simon, creator of Horrid Henry battles it out with Steven Butler, author of The Diary of Dennis the Menace to see which of their characters is the most utterly and horribly bad! Jacqueline Wilson will be introducing her delightful new story, Rent-a-Bridesmaid, and talking with me about her writing including the recent Hetty Feather titles and her anthology of animal stories, Paws and Whiskers. For older readers Holly Smale discusses Geek Girl and the importance of books for Young Adult readers and Malorie Blackman introduces Chasing the Stars, her retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello – with a difference!


Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell is appearing twice; he will unleash new drawings on his audience through a visualise in one event while in another he and a his friends, a group of new illustrators, will a great draw-off to equal anything that TV chefs can dream up. Pre-schoolers will love to celebrate 25 years of Elmer – dressed appropriately, of course – or the remarkable 150 years of Beatrix Potter. Roald Dahl’s glorious 100th will be marked by a debate pitching Miss Trunchbull against The Twits, the Grand High Witch and the bad, bad giants in The BFG in a mighty contest to see which is the most evil. Best-loved storyteller Michael Morpurgo is bringing his books to life through performances as is poet Roger McGough; both these much-loved writers show how children’s books reach out beyond children and to readers of all age groups.


And, if you’re looking for someone new to move onto, I’ve invited of host of brilliant new writers to unleash their stories for a new audience. These include David Solomons whose first book My Brother is a Super Hero has already won two major awards and M.G. Leonard’s highly original Beetle Boy which features a large Rhino Beetle as its central character. At Hay, M.G .is not only going to talk about the book but she is going to show a live rhino beetle, and some other impressive insects all of which will be carefully handled by Sarah Beynon who runs the nearby Bug centre.


And, if you ever tire of listening, in every corner of the Festival site there book based activities from crafts to performance for all ages.


At almost 30 years old, Hay prides itself on being a festival of ideas, culture and creativity as well as literature and Haydays matches that spirit perfectly. Come for a week or drop in for a day, there’s plenty to entertain the whole family every day.


For more information on the this year’s festival click here. Privacy Policy Disclaimer