Big Names Line Up For First Festival


London, 12 January 2015 – Barnes is set to become the new centre of children’s literature in London with the announcement of the first Barnes Children’s Literature Festival on Saturday 25 April.

A programme of very special events for young book fans and their families is planned for around Barnes Pond including live interviews, readings and book signings, workshops, discussions and performances as well as a number of special school activities. There will also be a programme of children’s film at Olympic Studios.

Axel Scheffler, Jim Smith and Marcia Williams are just a few of the big names that will be in Barnes for the event.

Mr Scheffler is well known for his collaborations with Julia Donaldson including The Gruffalo, which has sold over ten million copies worldwide, as well as being voted ‘Britain’s best bedtime story,’ but he is also the author of a number of other bestselling books for children including Muddle Farm and the Pip and Posy series.

Also appearing is ‘the keelest author in the whole wide world,’ the creator of the hilarious Barry Loser series, Jim Smith. Mr Smith, who lives in Barnes, won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2013 for I Am Still Not A Loser. There’s guaranteed to be loads of laughs as Jim shows the kids how to draw Barry and his mates.

Jim will be joined on the day by another Barnes resident Marcia Williams who has retold and illustrated many literary classics for children, including Shakespeare and Dickens, with her distinctive comic book style. She is probably best known, however, for her beautiful World War One scrapbook, Archie’s War, which has won numerous publishing prizes.

Marcia’s session, which will look at what it was like to live during the war through the letters, pictures, newspaper clippings, drawings and doodles of ten year old East End schoolboy Archie Albright, will be a highlight for both children and adults.

The Festival is supported by the Barnes Community Association and is being presented in association with Barnes Bookshop. A percentage of all books sold on the day, as well as any profit from ticket sales, will be donated to Barnes children’s charities.

Organiser Amanda Brettargh said ‘Barnes was the best place in Britain for a children’s literature festival.’

‘Barnes is a place that loves its books. There’s a rich literary heritage here, one of London’s best independent bookshops too, and our setting, under the magnificent trees around Barnes Pond, will provide a literary experience like no other,’ she said.

The full programme for the day will go on sale next month.

Want to be part of the fun? Sign up for Festival updates at

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