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Jacqueline Wilson
Jacqueline Wilson

LONDON, 21 March 2016 — The University of Roehampton has announced that it will become the Creative Partner for the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival.

The Festival returns to Barnes Pond on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May with more than fifty fun events for young book fans and their families making it London’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival. Heading the line up is the former Children’s Laureate and Roehampton University Chancellor Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

Ms Wilson said she was ‘delighted’ to be part of the Festival. ‘The Barnes Children’s Literature Festival plays an important role in encouraging a love of books in young readers. Roehampton has a distinguished history of teaching children’s literature and I am pleased that we can share that with the Festival’s audience.”

The bestselling author will be launching her new book Rent A Bridesmaid. She’ll also be talking about her life as a writer and discuss some of her much loved characters including Hetty Feather and Tracy Beaker.

She’ll be joined by Charlie and Lola creator Lauren Child and the Costa Children’s Book of the Year winners Frances Hardinge and Kate Saunders, as well as the former Carnegie medallist Philip Reeve, two time Kate Greenaway award winner Emily Gravett, Roald Dahl Funny Prize winner Jim Smith, former Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne and the winner of the 2015 Children’s Poetry Prize, Joseph Coelho who grew up in Roehampton. Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler will be back by popular demand.

Because Barnes is committed to programming some of children’s literature’s best known names alongside a few special treats that Festival audiences will be unlikely to see anywhere else, this year’s special guests include the acclaimed Australian author Morris Gleitzman and the million copy selling German fantasy writer, Cornelia Funke, who will be in London exclusively for the Festival.

As result of the new partnership, students from the University’s departments of English and Creative Writing, and Media, Culture and Language, and academic staff will be involved in the talks, events and artistic sessions, adding their expertise to the exciting range of activities for children and their parents. The University has been running degrees specialising in children’s literature for many years. It also hosts the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature, which promotes excellence in the academic study of children’s literature.

“All of the top tier festivals, like Oxford and Bath for example, have the support of a university and our partnership with Roehampton is confirmation that Barnes is continuing to grow as a children’s literature festival of national and international standing,” Festival Director Amanda Brettargh said.

The new partnership is one of a number developed by the University to strengthen its work in south west London and support the capital’s arts scene. The University also supports Battersea Arts Centre’s Homegrown Company, Wimbledon Book Fest and the Imagine Children’s Festival at the Southbank Centre.

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