News

Andy Stanton on yellow snow and prehistoric sharks

Looking for belly laughs from your Barnes Kids Lit Fest experience? Andy Stanton’s your man. The massively successful author, who wrote his first book in several hours one Christmas Eve as a festive present for his family, will be talking about his wickedly funny Mr Gum series. He will also be talking about his latest one-off book of hysterical/historical stories, Natboff! One Million Years of Stupidity, which lives up to the fantastically surreal promise of its title. We can’t wait for this one – see you there!

 

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Andy Stanton: ‘Watch out where the huskies go and don’t you eat the yellow snow’ – Frank Zappa

 

BCLF: And the worst?

AS: I don’t remember bad advice. Once I’ve turned it over in my squishy little brains and decided it’s not for me, I invariably forget all about it.

 

BCLF: My favourite word is…

AS: Cromulent.

 

BCLF: My greatest fear is…

AS: That an absolutely enormous prehistoric shark, probably a Megalodon, is zooming up towards me from a vast underground ocean beneath wherever I happen to be situated at any given moment and that it will burst through the floor and the last thing I’ll see is this huge open mouth lined with six-inch-long serrated triangular teeth.

 

BCLF: My hidden talent is… 

AS: I can waggle the tendon in my left ankle just by thinking about it. It’s horrible.

 

BCLF: Favourite book as a child?

AS: ‘The Eighteenth Emergency’ by Betsy Byars

 

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain?

AS: Randall Flagg or Pennywise – both Steven King creations so not recommended for my general readership just yet.

 

BCLF: Tell us a joke…

AS: A man walks into a pub. Ouch! It was an iron pub.

Bloom in Barnes!

 

He’s best known as CBeebies Mr Bloom, but did you know that Ben Faulks, the man behind every kid’s favourite allotment, is also a children’s author? Good news alert – he’s coming to Barnes! He’ll be here on Saturday 12th May to talk about two books – ‘Watch Out for Muddy Puddles’ with Ben Cort, and ‘What Makes Me a Me?’ with David Tazzyman. His workshop is ideal for ‘tiddlers’ (3 and up) and will be an entertaining adventure about what makes us unique and how to get prepared for fantastical puddle jumping excursion! Just don’t get him started on eggs, OK?

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Ben Faulks: A space man.

 

BCLF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

BF: Go to work on an egg.

 

BCLF: And the worst?

BF: Those that ask, don’t get.

 

BCLF: My favourite word is…

BF: Jumbo.

 

BCLF: My greatest fear is…

BF: The power of social media.

 

BCLF: My hidden talent is…

BF: Being an egg chef.

 

BCLF: Favourite book as a child?

BF: ‘In the Night Kitchen’ by Maurice Sendak.

 

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain?

BF: Randall Flagg (the character from the Stephen King books).

 

BCLF: Tell us a joke…

BF: What is brown and sticky? A stick (Ka Boom Ching!)

 

A Family Sing Song with Nick Cope

Monkeys, bears, socks and mud – this man sings about all the things children love! If you haven’t seen singer/songwriter/illustrator/author/all-round kids entertainment guru, Nick Cope, in action yet, you’re missing out. But fret not, he will be at the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival! You can catch his Family Songbook Session on Saturday 12th May at 5.30pm, where he’ll be keeping the kids (and their grown-ups) singing and laughing with his acoustic folk-rock ditties inspired by the day-to-day of family life. For tickets, click here – http://www.barneskidslitfest.org/events/nick-copes-family-songbook


Nick had international success as the lead singer/songwriter in The Candyskins in the ’90s

 

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: How would you describe what you do and what would you be doing if you weren’t doing it?

Nick Cope:  I think of myself as a songwriter who does a bit of drawing and, with help from amazing people, I will be publishing some books! If I weren’t doing what I’m doing I would hope to still be involved in something creative – I enjoy animating my songs so maybe something in the animation/ film world.

 

BCLF: The best thing about what I do is…

NC: …when I perform a new song and the children ask me to sing it again straight away. That’s always a good indication that all the hard work has been worth it.

 

BCLF: My favourite word is ..

NC: …“little” – it’s a great word to add a few syllables and rhythm in a song.

 

BCLF: My greatest fear is…

NC: …balloons.

 

BCLF: My hidden talent is…

NC: I can skateboard a little bit.

 

BCLF: My superpower is…

NC: …stunning a crowd of people into silence with an old sock and a cardboard bowl of peas.

 

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain?

NC: Katie Hopkins.

 

BCLF: If you could ask another author a question, who would you ask and what would the question be?

NC: Though no longer with us, Charles M Schulz. I’d ask him, what he thinks of the CGI Peanuts movie.

 

BCLF: You’re the fantasy festival programmer. Who would you love to see come to Barnes? 

NC: My dog Norman as I don’t think we have anyone to look after him on that day!

Polly Faber: Children’s Author, Pet Picker and Tortoise Impersonator

 

2018 is a busy year for children’s writer Polly Faber. The author of the ‘Mango and Bambang’ series (about the adventures of a girl and her tapir best friend), has penned another three books! Each guaranteed to be heading to a kid’s bookshelf near you this Spring. Picture book ‘Grab That Rabbit’, ‘Pony on the Twelfth Floor’ for older kids and, the book that her and illustrator Clara Vulliamy are coming to Barnes for, ‘Picking Pickle’. Phew! ‘Picking Pickle’ is all about the painstaking process of picking the right dog for you, and their workshop at our festival will include an inventive reading of the witty book, followed by an opportunity to design your dream dog…

 

 

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

 

Polly Faber: Everything! But in no particular order, some favourites were to be a cooker (‘gas or electric’ asked my big brothers…), a pony, a golden retriever, a private investigator, a naturalist, a fairy and a film star.

 

 

 

BCLF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

 

PF: It’s OK to feel sad sometimes because you can’t ever really know what happy feels like without it.

 

 

BCLF: And the worst?

 

PF: That all I had to do was follow the recipe and my gingerbread castle would come out fine.

 

 

BCLF: If you could ask another author a question, who would you ask and what would the question be?

 

PF: I’d ask Clara Vulliamy whether we could make another book together soon please? And what’s her favourite way to eat potatoes?

 

Polly in conversation with co-creator Clara Vulliamy

 

 

BCLF: My favourite word is …

 

PF: ‘Puggled’ is a good one. It’s from Yorkshire I think and it means very tired. I use it a lot.

 

 

 

BCLF: My greatest fear is…

 

PF: Plummeting. I don’t like tall buildings or planes much. I’m not verylikely to bungee jump or skydive. Or go across that glass bridge in China…

 

 

 

BCLF: My hidden talent is…

 

PF: I can do a good tortoise impression.

 

 

 

BCLF: Favourite book as a child?

 

PF: Depends on at what age but probably Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. I was a very big Asterix fan too.

 

 

 

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain? 

 

PF: I scare easily, so I tend to only choose the setting ‘Very Mild Peril’. I used to sometimes skip past the baddies in books I knew well! Miss Slighcarp in Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is properly awful.

 

 

BCLF: Tell us a joke!

PF: What do you call a French man wearing sandals? Philippe Phlop (you need to say it with a terrible French accent)

Lisa Stickley: On Books and Blancmange

 

The lovely Lisa Stickley is an all round creative power house, bursting with beautiful design ideas (she is creating the Barnes Literature Bookshop window for the festival in May) and writing and illustrating the cutest children’s books (Handstand, My New Room, Dress Like Mummy and her latest offering, The New Baby). We couldn’t wait until Barnes Kids Lit Fest in May to to see her unique brand of magic in action, so we caught up with her to chat about books, blancmange and everything in between (just don’t mention FROGS!)

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Lisa Stickley: A hairdresser. We had such a lovely hairdresser and I think I just wanted to be her!  Plus, it was fun to practise. I remember trying to put my younger sister’s hair in rollers, but discovering we had none, so instead I collected all the combs in the house and I ‘rolled’ her hair up in those. It was fun until they didn’t unroll! I wasn’t very popular after that…. Honestly though,  I feel very lucky with my career. Really, I always just wanted to create and I love what I do now.

 

BCLF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

LS: Don’t dwell on the past. Keep moving forward.

 

BCLF: Who is your favourite children’s writer? 

LS: Roald Dahl. I am a bit obsessed with him at the moment, and keep looking for podcasts and documentaries with more information about him. I am particularly fascinated by the writing shed he used to work in.

 

BCLF: And who’s your favourite literary villain?

LS: Mr and Mrs Twit. They are quite repulsive but also very funny. The tricks they play on each are hilariously vile. I mean, the bit where they are stuck on the ceiling at the end. Everyone remembers that!

 

BCLF: What would your superpower be?

LS:  Well, I’m not sure what mine would be, but when I was a a kid I loved Hong Kong Phooey (a dog with martial arts superpowers). I named my goldfish after him and he lived for 11 years. So I think the superpowers transferred to him!

 

BCLF: What’s your greatest fear?

LS: Those green things in the garden that hop around…. I can’t even say the word! It’s a genuine fully-blown phobia. My husband was very impressed because I drew one the other day (albeit in a rather abstract way!) I’m not sure where it stems from, perhaps from when I fell in the pond at home once? It’s their actions and their unpredictability that really gets me.

 

BCLF: What’s your favourite word?

LS: Blancmange. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s good to say and even better to eat.

Writing Tips and School Assembly Slips by Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson is one of those rare authors that seemed to burst into children’s literature to instant and spectacular success. Her first book, ‘The Goldfish Boy’ was published in 2017 and quickly became a bestseller that was published all around the world and nominated for a raft of awards including the Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, ‘The Light Jar’ was published this year to similar acclaim. Read on for her advice on getting started with writing and what she’d be doing if she weren’t wowing kids around the world with her thought-provoking yet deeply entertaining reads. Clue: It’s not singing.

 

 

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Lisa Thompson: I wrote the start of a book when I was around 10 (about a girl who rescues horses) and found I loved being lost in a world that I was in control of creating – so the first thing I ever wanted to be was an author.  In my teens I wanted to work in film production, something behind the scenes… and then I had a spell of wanting to be a singer (before I realised I wasn’t good enough) but being an author was always niggling away in the back of my mind.

 

BCLF: What would you be doing if you weren’t an amazing author?

LT: I worked in radio production for many years and I loved it. I’d still be doing that I think.

 

 

BCLF: The best thing about what I do is…

LT: …when you get an emotional reaction from a reader. It sounds a bit wrong but when a reader says they’ve cried over one of my books I do a little punch in the air…

 

 

BCLF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

LT: You don’t have to know the ending before you start (or the middle or much of the beginning).

 

 

BCLF: And the worst?

LT: Write every day. It feels too much like homework if I do that.

 

BCLF: My favourite word is …

LT: Perpendicular.

 

BCLF: My greatest fear is…

LT: Doing a school assembly and my Powerpoint presentation not working.

 

BCLF: My hidden talent is…

LT: Singing. (Badly. See above answer.)

 

BCLF: My superpower is…

LT: I have hypermobility so my arms bend round more than they should…

 

 

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain? 

LT: The aunts Spiker and Sponge in ‘James and the Giant Peach’ are deliciously rotten.

 

In conversation with Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby

Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are the Emmy-winning and Bafta-nominated writing partnership behind most of your kids favourite TV shows – Peter Rabbit, Danger Mouse and Shaun The Sheep, to name but a few. Excitingly, they are also currently scripting a new TV show of some of our all time favourite kids lit characters, The Moomins. We can hardly wait! Not happy with conquering the world of TV, this eye-wateringly busy writing duo are a force to be reckoned with in the world of kids books too. If your kids haven’t tried their fantastic adventure series, ‘Defender of the Realm’, we highly recommend it. The third book in the series ‘Defender of the Realm: King’s Army’, is due to be published just after their visit to Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, so book your tickets now and get the low down on what’s in store in the latest instalment.

 

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Nick Ostler: Apparently my parents thought I should be a bank manager,
because I liked counting my pocket money! But once I had a say in it I
thought I’d prefer to be the next Gerald Durrell or David Attenborough
– but although I’ve kept my interest in the Natural World I was never
good enough at science to do it for a living, sadly.

Mark Huckerby: An actor. It was the only thing I thought I was remotely good
at. I went as far as looking at drama schools but ended up diverting
to the University of Nottingham where I mostly messed around acting
even though it wasn’t my degree.

 

BCLF: What would you be doing if you weren’t an amazing author/illustrator?

Nick: Just before we decided to give scriptwriting full time a go, I
was applying for Journalism courses (my degree was Politics) and I
think I would have enjoyed that too – it would certainly be an
interesting job to be doing right now!

Mark: Failing as an actor.

 

BCLF: The best thing about what I do is…

Nick: I could say the wonder of creating stories from my head every
day, but I think I’ll go with a five minute commute with a view of the
South Downs and no boss.

Mark: Getting paid to day dream. I mean, there’s more to writing than
that of course but in a nutshell, that’s what I’m doing. The idea that
my ideas and thoughts have an actual value blows my tiny mind.

 

BCLF: My favourite word is …

Nick: The End.

Mark: Coffee.

 

BCLF: My greatest fear is…

Nick: Planes.

Mark: Spiders.

 

BCLF: My hidden talent is…

Nick: Bird identification.

Mark: Cooking. I make excellent Turkish flat breads.

 

BCLF: My superpower is…

Nick: Redrafting.

Mark: Procrastination.

 

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain?

Nick: I have a new one – The Gorm in Kieran Larwood’s brilliant ‘Podkin’
series – creepy, dark, they really get under your skin – perfect kids’
fantasy villains.

Mark: Mr Victor Hazell from ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ was the
first villain I recall. I distintctly remember being aged eight,
sitting cross-legged in front of my teacher as she read the book and
feeling really angry about him.

 

BCLF: If you could ask another author a question, who would you ask and what would the question be?

Nick: I’d ask Douglas Adams if he hid any unknown manuscripts anywhere
as I’d love to read them.

Mark: Not a question, but I sincerely wish I could have said a
heartfelt thank you to Sheila K McCullagh for helping me learn to
read. I was a (very) late starter but her Tim and the Hidden People
reading scheme not only taught me to read but instilled in me a
life-long love of the fantasy genre and ghost stories.

 

BCLF: You’re the fantasy festival programmer. Who would you love to see come to Barnes?

Nick: For entertainment value, May Evans (‘Who Let The Gods Out?’), for
inspiration and to make us all better writers, Phillip Pullman and
because I haven’t met him yet and would love to tell him how much I
love his books Kieran Larwood. Maybe they’re coming already, I
don’t know!

Mark: Sarah Waters, Phillip Pullman, Don Winslow…

 

BCLF: I’m reading…

Nick: Have finally got to ‘Book of Dust’ by Philip Pullman – great so far!

Mark: ‘The Light Jar’ by Lisa Thompson.  It’s excellent.

Paper bags and potholes by Clara Vulliamy

Clara Vulliamy is an author and illustrator who has children’s books running through her blood. As it turns out even her jokes have a literary twist. The daughter of Shirley Hughes (who doesn’t own Dogger or an Alfie book?) Clara chose to follow in her family’s footsteps with a career in illustrating and writing children’s books. Hugely successful, she has trodden her own distinctive path. You will know her as the illustrator and writer of many well-loved book series including Dotty the Detective, Mango and Bambang, and Martha and the Bunny Brothers books. Just don’t ask her to go potholing (or look in a paper bag), OK?

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Clara Vulliamy: I only ever wanted to be an illustrator, possibly running a kitten sanctuary on the side.

BCLF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

CV: I’m not sure it’s the best but it’s the strangest: my mum told me never to look in a paper bag, and that her mum had told her the same. But WHY?! I love paper bags, and they often have good things in them.

BCLF: And the worst?

CV: ‘Don’t marry an artist.’ This advice was given to me by an artist, actually. Well, I did, and 30 years later I have no regrets. Plus if you run out of Cerulean Blue in the middle of the night there’s always someone to borrow from.

BCLF: Favourite book as a child?

CV: My favourite books were the Mary Plain stories by Gwynedd Rae, and I’ve loved them ever since. My dream came true last year when I re-illustrated them in a new edition.

BCLF: My favourite word is…

CV: Today it’s aposiopesis – suddenly falling silent as if unwilling to go on.

BCLF: My greatest fear is…

CV: Small spaces. Pot-holing would be my worst nightmare.

BCLF: My hidden talent is…

CV: Since Polly Faber taught me how, I can now imitate a sad tapir on the swannee whistle.

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain? 

CV:

Miss Slighcarp from The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken: brilliantly, unforgettably horrible. Anyone yet to discover this series is in for a huge treat.

BCLF: If you could ask another author a question, who would you ask and what would the question be?

CV: I was recently marveling at and wondering about William Nicholson’s Clever Bill, a sublimely perfect picture book. So I would go back to 1926 and ask, ‘Mr Nicholson, this book has so few words and these illustrations seem so swiftly made: did you put it all together very quickly? It’s been said that Clever Bill paved the way for the modern picture book – is that what you thought you were doing?’

BCLF: Tell us a joke…

CV: Oh dear I’m not very good at jokes! Okay, here goes…

The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was a bit tense.

Everyone’s favourite poet: Michael Rosen

It was standing room only in the big tent for the one and only Michael Rosen, and from the moment people started filing in – and Michael started directing the flow of traffic – he was just as warm, funny, brilliant and clever as usual.

Michael started out explaining to the kids that he was born at the end of the Stone Age, 3,071 years ago. (He knows it was the Stone Age because Michael Gove told him so. Don’t get him started!) Back then they watched rocks instead of television. Slept on rocks. Sat on rocks. Went to bed on a rock. You get the idea…

Soon enough a chorus of fans were joining in as he slipped seamlessly into some of his best and boldest poetry.

Michael: “We had a teacher who was so strict,
you weren’t allowed to breathe in her lessons
She used to stand at the front going,

Every child in the tent: “NO BREATHING!”

There were more joys to come from Michael’s Big Book of Bad Things and towards the end he even remembered to talk about his new book, Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads, before signing hundreds of copies – a warm smile and a quick word for everyone who waited patiently in line to meet him.

Images by lieselbocklphotography.com; @LieselBockl

The magic of Hogwarts

Wands were at the ready for this hilarious one-woman Harry Potter fan show, led by the spectacularly energetic Fleurble Laffalott, super-assistant to the Professor of Potter. “Put two hands and your feet in the air if you’re a Harry Potter fan!” she roared, and every hand (and foot) in the Barnes Book Marquee was up in seconds. (more…)

Lost in time with Adrian Edmondson

ade 2 Not content with being a legendary comedian, actor, television presenter, amateur chef, director, and chart-topping musician, Adrian Edmondson is now trying his hand at children’s literature. Arno Bryant reports. (more…)

Top tips on writing mysteries from Laura Wood

Author and academic Laura Wood came to the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival to talk about the third book in her ‘Poppy Pym’ mystery series. Sian Kissock went to pick up some tips.

Poppy was abandoned as a baby at a travelling circus, and in term-time she attends a boarding school. The series is about her rather unconventional life with her new family of circus performers. (more…)

Sit down with Jarvis

He goes by one name. Jarvis. He is the mind behind picture books like Mrs. Mole, I’m Home!, Alan’s Big Scary Teeth and Ready Set, Build!. And his impersonations of the characters he brings to life on paper are so wonderful in person that it’s hard to believe he has only been a picture book maker for three years. Nohely Gedeon meets him. (more…)

Incredible women with Kate Pankhurst

Author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst, a descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, brought history’s most incredible women to life with drawing, doodling, dressing up and inspirational words of encouragement! Bethany Park was there to find out more.

From the fly high tales of Amelia Earhart to the bold and vibrant paintings of Frida Kahlo, Kate  discussed some of her favourite strong female role models. She provided families with an exciting sneak peek into her book, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World. (more…)

Make your own animation with Peter Bunzl

IMG_8138 (2)Animator and author Peter Bunzl’s series ‘The Cogheart Adventures’ was inspired by his fascination with automatons, explains Sian Kissock. (more…)

Ben Newman on becoming an illustrator

KidsLit_BNewman-6334The adventures of Professor Astro Cat have been a beloved series since the release of the first book in 2013, as indicated by the sheer number of kids at the workshop led by the books’ illustrator Ben Newman. But Ben’s journey has taken dedication and hard work, says Nohely Gedeon. (more…)

Magical knickers with Nicholas Allan

KidsLit_NAllan-6228 Kids and parents alike were  engrossed during Nicholas Allan’s magical talk on The Queen’s Knickers, says Sian Kissock.

Author of over 30 children’s books, Nicholas talked about magical illusion and his charming new book, all about the Queen’s best kept secret – what underwear she wears on particular occasions. (more…)

Francesca Simon’s sarcastic teenage goddess

KidsLitFest2017Day1-5988Francesca Simon, the author of the incredibly successful Horrid Henry series, talked about the Norse mythology that inspired her first piece of young adult fiction, The Monstrous Child. Arno Bryant reports. (more…)

Floella Benjamin’s words of wisdom

KidsLit_FBenjamin-6259“Childhood? It lasts a lifetime.” Baroness Floella Benjamin certainly knows a thing or two about how childhood shapes us into who we are today, says Bethany Park.

Families at this year’s festival were treated to an inspirational and moving talk by the 68-year-old baroness about finding consideration, contentment and confidence – no matter how young you are. (more…)

History galore with Lucy Worsley

IMG_8073 (2)Lucy Worsley has many strings to her bow – TV historian, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces and author – and she’s mixed them all by delving into the life of a young Queen Victoria, explains Sian Kissock.

Lucy engaged the enthusiastic audience through witty facts and mystery. Did you know being a historian involves reading memoirs which often have pages evidently torn out, or the words ‘burn this’ scrawled on them? (more…)

Robert Winston and the amazing human body

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​World-renowned scientist and award-winning author, Robert Winston, gave a lecture on wonders of the human body to a sold-out audience at Barnes Methodist Church ahead of the release of his latest children’s science book, My Amazing Body Machine.

After the talk Professor Winston took some tough questions from children in the audience. (more…)

Lauren St John swaps gorillas for Barnes

_DSC8657LSJ“I spent Monday and Tuesday climbing volcanos with gorillas and it’s taking me a while to get used to being back here,” Lauren St John warned her audience before starting her talk. Arno Bryant reports. (more…)

Clare Balding gallops in

KidsLitFest2017Day1-5943 Clare Balding gave an immensely positive and amusing talk to the crowd on Saturday in the Book Marquee, reports Sian Kissock.

She started by introducing her first children’s book The Horse That Wouldn’t Gallop, enthusiastically discussing meeting the book’s illustrator Tony Ross for the first time earlier in the day. He had free rein with his work, bar the heroine of the novel, who Clare had already envisioned. (more…)

Going Dotty with Clara Vulliamy

KidsLitFest2017Day1-0187Clara Vulliamy talks to Nohely Gedeon about Dotty Detective and working with Shirley Hughes.

With over 30 years’ experience as an illustrator and author, Clara Vulliamy has brought to life many favourite characters and Dot from Dotty Detective is no exception. (more…)

Bid now on a Nicholas Allan original

Nicholas Allan talked to lucky attendees about his hilarious book The Queen’s Knickers this morning. He has kindly donated the picture he drew to be auctioned. It’s your chance to own an exclusive, original souvenir of the festival!

Please send your bid to donaldandkirsty@yahoo.co.uk or text 07909881459 by 5pm on Monday 15 May. The winner will be notified on Tuesday. Good luck!

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to support libraries at local primary schools.

Nicholas Allan auction IMG_3293

Morning tea with Marcia Williams

KidsLitFest2017Day1-0001 Marcia Williams endeared herself to the girls attending her morning tea at Sonny’s Kitchen, says Nohely Gedeon.

The author and illustrator of Lizzie Bennett’s Diary enthralled everyone – from the girls and their mothers to the event organisers – as she spoke of her works and the importance of keeping a diary. (more…)

Sarah Gibb’s top tips to create your fairytale world

KidsLitFest2017Day1-0101

Sarah Gibb has a special kind of talent, able to bring a magical mix of classic and contemporary fairytale imagery to live with the stroke of a brush, explains Nohely Gedeon.

She has illustrated work for authors like Jojo Moyes, Catherine Alliot and Holly Webb. Sarah’s illustrations of classic fairytales we grew up with – Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast – pull you in and enchant you with the vivacity and whimsy of the pages. (more…)

A Stick Man comes to life

IMG_2347Axel Scheffler is a multi-awarded winning illustrator best known for his work with author Julian Donaldson, in particular The Gruffalo. But that wasn’t how he was introduced by Sacha Joynathsing (pictured on Axel’s left, above). (more…)

Jamila Gavin’s blend of European and Indian fairy tales

KidsLitFest2017Day1-5913From cackling, wicked witches to blue-scaled snake princesses, some of the most traditional fairy tales have been forgotten over time. Bethany Park spoke to award-winning author Jamila Gavin about the extraordinary nature of fairy tales and their importance in reflecting a modern, multicultural Britain. (more…)

A hip hop journey with Ed Vere

KidsLitFest2017Day1-5865

Ed Vere introduced his new character Grumpy Frog to a packed hall, reports Sian Kissock.

The award-winning illustrator started by asking children what they love to draw. Answers ranged from big cats, dinosaurs and slugs to flowers, fruit and pirate ships. The audience read Banana together – a picture book about a monkey with a banana and another who wants it, but has to learn to say the magic word first. (more…)