How to Create a Picture Book with Benji Davies

By Malin Hamilton Backer   How does an idea occur? And how can you get inspired to get an idea for a story? Benji Davies, an illustrator, author and animation director, gives us a quick rundown of his 4 top tips for creating a picture book and where he normally looks for inspiration for a…

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21st May 2018

Interactive Storytelling with Gwyn McCormack

By Malin Hamilton Backer   Telling her story of Marvin, the little boy that was shopping groceries for his surprise picnic with his Grandma, we meet Gwyn McCormack who is currently dressed up as the character Barbara the baker.   “Can anyone tell me what is next on the grocery list?” Gwyn asks whilst pointing…

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21st May 2018

Ben Faulks in Barnes

By Malin Hamilton Backer Who were you as a child? The clumsy one? The sporty one? Did you want to grow up to be the same as the rest of the children in your class or something completely different? Kids today might think it’s challenging to be different to their peers and feel like they…

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21st May 2018

Cressida Cowell on Inspiration and Imagination

Words by Leanna Coleman Cressida Cowell, author of multimillion book series ‘How to Train your Dragon’, speaks about the importance of stories and the inspiration behind her own work. The talk was introduced by 11-year-old Henry, a passionate fan of Cressida’s series. Honoured, Cressida took the stage and told the crowd; “Writers were my heroes…

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21st May 2018

Harry Hill’s Five Funniest Moments at Barnes

Words by Leanna Coleman   Harry Hill, comedian, presenter and newly published author of ‘Matt Millz’, took the stage and left everyone in fits of laughter on Sunday morning.   “By watching comedians then going into school the next day and telling jokes I got attention, people laughed at me, and I liked that,” Harry…

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21st May 2018

David Solomons and Superheroes

Words and pictures by Leanna Coleman Who knew superheroes were so fun to make? David Solomons, author of ‘My Brother is a Superhero’ and the series, gave an interactive talk on the imagination behind his characters and the craft behind his creation.   David began the talk by answering his most asked question: where do…

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21st May 2018

Axel Scheffler – In His Own Words

Read our exclusive Q&A with Axel Scheffler, winner of the acclaimed Illustrator of the Year award at the British Book Awards 2018, and the man behind the legendary Gruffalo series, among many other favourites. Here he talks about the method behind his work, what he loves to draw and what’s next for his career…. By Lucy Patchett Barnes Children’s Literature…

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16th May 2018

Sunday’s Spotlight on Volunteers by Alexandra Potter

We couldn’t do it without you!   Everywhere you look at the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival you’ll see distinctive red aprons emblazoned with our logo, dotted among the crowds. Wearing those aprons is our team of wonderful volunteers who make this festival possible. If they’re not helping out behind the scenes, taking tickets at events,…

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13th May 2018

The Not So Feeble Tor Freeman

Want to learn how to draw an emotional sausage (who doesn’t, right)? Tor Freeman is your lady! Renowned and prolific children’s illustrator, Tor, is coming to Barnes with author Michelle Robinson to talk about their latest book, the infectiously funny Ten Fat Sausages. You may well already have some of her books in your kid’s collection…

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8th May 2018

Sophie Kinsella on Spiders, Snape and Scary Rides….

You probably already know the name Sophie Kinsella. Best known for her wildly successful Shopaholic series (the first two book were turned into a film starring Isla Fisher), Sophie has now turned her talented writing hand to a series of books for younger readers and – good news alert – she’s coming to Barnes to talk…

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5th May 2018

5 minutes with…. Ross Montgomery

          Ross Montgomery, author of Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door, The Tornado Chasers and Perijee & Me, is coming to Barnes to talk about his latest book, Max and The Millions. This fascinating book, in the vein of childhood favourite The Borrowers, is all about a deaf boy who discovers a microscopic fantasy world…

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4th May 2018

The Mysterious World of…. Angus Mackinnon and James Thorp

The Elephant in the Room is the fantastically surreal new ‘whodunnit’ book from James Thorp, complete with psychedelic illustrations by local artist and creative Angus Mackinnon (he’s a Sheen resident and a parent of East Sheen Primary). The duo are coming to Barnes on Sunday 13th May to host an interactive reading of this hilarious, madcap mystery. Come along…

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3rd May 2018

In conversation with… Frances Hardinge

Novelist Frances Hardinge has a style of all her own, both in her atmospheric and accomplished writing and with her appearance thanks to her signature black fedora hat. Perhaps most famous for her Costa Award-winning novel, The Lie Tree, Frances will be at Barnes discussing how this book changed her life, and also talking about…

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2nd May 2018

The (not so) Magical World of Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett is a name that features on most kids’ bookshelves. Her distinctive, interactively illustrated picture books are a firm favourite with kids and parents alike, and have won two Kate Greenaway awards (no one has won three). Her books, including ‘Orange Pear, Apple Bear’, ‘Meerkat Mail’ and ‘Little Mouse’s Book of Fears’ are vastly…

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30th April 2018

Duncan Beedie on elbows, aircrafts and annuals…

  Duncan Beedie’s career as a children’s author started with a bang, when his debut picture book, ‘The Bear Who Stared’ was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2017. He’s gone from strength to strength with his latest two offerings ‘The Last Chip’ and ‘The Lumberjack’s Beard’, both packed with the punch of his…

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26th April 2018

Jay Jay Burridge on Dinos, Darth Vader and Dr Seuss

Jay Jay Burridge, author and creative, is bringing dinosaurs back to life. His epic six part book series, ‘Supersaurs’, (books 1 and 2 are out now) tells the tale of what would happen if dinosaurs were still walking the earth. They have an augmented reality aspect and come complete with illustrations that will burst to…

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23rd April 2018

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…

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21st April 2018

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…

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16th April 2018

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…

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12th April 2018

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…

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9th April 2018

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…

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4th April 2018

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…

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26th March 2018

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…

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19th March 2018

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,…

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12th March 2018

Puppets, paints and superpowers with Polly Dunbar

  When it comes to bedtime stories, they don’t get much better than the books of multi-award winning author and illustrator Polly Dunbar. Her ‘Tilly’ book series is so well-loved that it’s been turned into a BBC cartoon, the wonderful ‘Penguin’ is way up in our picture book hall of fame, and her latest offering…

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5th March 2018

The World of Norm… and Tractors by Jonathan Meres

He’s a best selling children’s author who is perhaps most famous for his hilarious World of Norm book series (if you haven’t read them, what have you been doing?), and we are delighted to announce that Jonathan Meres is going to joining us at the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival this May (hurrah!) Read on to…

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25th February 2018

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…

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27th July 2017

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…

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22nd May 2017

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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22nd May 2017

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…

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22nd May 2017