About us

‘London now has a world-class children’s book festival.’
S F Said, BBC Blue Peter Book of the Year award winner

Cheers, SF Said, you legend

We were standing at the school gate when the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival was born, a kind of afternoon epiphany for a few of us Mums and Dads who believe in books: a literature festival for families and their friends, curated entirely by the families. 

That was 10 years ago and we must have done something right, because since then we’ve met thousands of families of all shapes and sizes, who love books like we do and these days Barnes is Uk’s largest dedicated children’s literature event. 

It’s still something we do alongside our day jobs and school runs, but every year we manage to pull it together with the help of our families, friends and 150 volunteers from the Barnes and books communities.You’ll see some of our kids helping out now too! 

Because we believe that every child should have the opportunity to experience live literature we’re very proud of the fact that we use the income from every ticket you buy to provide the largest free literature festival schools programme in the UK and next year we’ll provide over 13,000 free state school places for primary pupils. 

We’re for love, not profit, all the way.

Barnes is put on by families for families so we’re 100% committed to making sure your tribe has an amazing time.

As well as bringing you all your favourite authors and illustrators, we’re always pushing the boundaries of traditional literature festivals to create loads more space for the family-friendliest fun. 

At Barnes we programme books as theatre, music, maths, science, art, craft, cookery, film, football, whatever it takes to bring the magic of reading and writing to the kids.

You’ll also find a few special treats beside beautiful Barnes Pond that you’re unlikely to see at festivals anywhere else. As our Uncle Bill would say, the only rules are there are no rules!

We’re still here – even after That Thing That Changed Everything in 2020! We’re so proud to be telling our story about how we’ve built something special around our massive digital kitchen tables because every year we discover all these brilliant new books that we just know you’ll adore and this is what keeps us going – and growing!

We’ve started as we mean to go on, so get ready for more books, more fun, more adventure, more everything in 2024 because we’re turning ten (TEN!) and we just wouldn’t want to spend it with anyone else! 

Lots of love, the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival XO

Please consider making a donation so that we can continue to bring you the Barnes you love. Whatever you can give will make a big difference.

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