2017

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.
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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.
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Lost in time with Adrian Edmondson

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.
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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.
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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,…
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Ben Newman on becoming an illustrator

The 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.
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Magical knickers with Nicholas Allan

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.
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Floella Benjamin’s words of wisdom

“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 –…
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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…
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Robert Winston and the amazing human body

​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.
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History galore with Lucy Worsley

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…
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Clare Balding gallops in

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…
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Morning tea with Marcia Williams

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.
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Lauren St John swaps gorillas for Barnes

“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.
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Sarah Gibb’s top tips to create your fairytale world

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…
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Going Dotty with Clara Vulliamy

Clara 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.
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A Stick Man comes to life

Axel 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).
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Jamila Gavin’s blend of European and Indian fairy tales

From 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.
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A hip hop journey with Ed Vere

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…
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Gareth P Jones’ ways to detect an alien

Award-winning author of the Pet Defender and Dragon Detective Agency series Gareth P Jones joined us at Barnes for a silly and hilarious song-filled event. He talks to Bethany Park about his love of detective writing, his Pet Defender series and how to detect an alien. What is your favourite of the…
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Radio host Christian O’Connell and his family of editors

Christian O’Connell swapped his 2 million radio listeners for a packed room of parents and children at the OSO Arts Centre to talk about his new book Radio Boy. The Absolute Radio presenter’s first children’s novel is the story of a boy called Spike who, under the mysterious moniker Radio Boy,…
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Bid now on an original Axel Scheffler drawing!

Axel Scheffler drew Stick Man for entranced Festival attendees this morning. He has kindly donated this picture to be auctioned this weekend. It’s your chance to own an exclusive, original Axel Scheffler drawing! Please send your bid to donaldandkirsty@yahoo.co.uk or text 07909881459 by 6.30pm on Sunday 14 May. The winner will be notified on Monday.…
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Libby Greenhill: our youngest author

Is Libby Greenhill the youngest author to appear at a literature festival? We had such fun listening to the eight-year-old today! She read fantastic fun stories from her book The Lost Bunny and the Worried Kitten to lots of families and eager kids. Libby wrote her book to raise money for…
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Ade Edmondson

I think I was about nine when I read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It was the first time I’d encountered wordplay. It’s full of brilliant puns and linguistic tricks, and a very funny, very short, and very cross policeman called Officer Shrift.
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