Barnes Children’s Literature Festival

Jonathan Stroud: 5 surprising things your kids will learn from being bored today

Jonathan Stroud is on a mission to unlock our children’s imaginations and natural creativity. How? “Give your child the time and space to start creating and there’s no limit to where they’ll go,” says the Lockwood & Co author. His Freedom To Think campaign, launched last year, calls for parents to ring-fence at least one period …

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My Life in Books: Judith Kerr comes to the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival

It was a full house at The Olympic Cinema as legendary author and illustrator Judith Kerr took to her seat on the stage to reminisce about her remarkable life and books. Missed it? Arno Bryant brings you her memories of fleeing Nazi Germany, her love of Google and her stand for feline feminism. Judith Kerr is one …

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Abi Elphinstone takes us on a trip to Mongolia

Faraway places and beautiful landscapes… Malika Kingston joined the Festival audience for a photographic adventure as the author of The Dreamsnatcher and The Shadow Keeper shared her inspirations. Energetic and inspiring, that’s Abi Elphinstone. Before becoming an author of magical adventure books she was a teacher. It took seven years and being told ‘no’ by …

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Want to be the next Axel Scheffler or Garry Parsons? Top children’s illustrators share their tips

Illustrating children’s books is a notoriously competitive industry to get into. Given Barnes spent the weekend heaving with artistic talent it seemed only fair to garner some advice for anyone starting out. So we asked four seriously renowned illustrators for their golden rules for any aspiring artists. “My Golden Rule is that anything that happens …

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Frances Hardinge: 5 steps to writing an award-winning novel

Calling all budding novelists! Do you have a story to tell, but just don’t know where to start? Acclaimed author Frances Hardinge is here to help, says Sagal Mohammed.  With multiple awards under her belt, including the 2015 Costa Book of the Year award for her epic children’s novel The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge knows …

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The art of Dragonsitting with Josh Lacey and Garry Parsons (P.S. don’t mention the poop)

Malika Kingston got her pencil at the ready to find out how to draw a dragon from those in the know. Dragonsitting is like babysitting with a few ‘minor’ differences. To start with it’s a bit more dangerous, chances are smoke will be involved and you’ll definitely have to clear up poop, lots and lots …

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Rooftoopers’ author, Katherine Rundell, tells us how her travels around the world inspire her writing

Husky sledding and cooking piranha fish are all part of the fun-filled research that goes into writing Katherine Rundell’s novels. Bethany Parks finds out more. Katherine Rundell’s new novel The Wolf Wilder has been described as a children’s classic in the making. The snow-filled fairytale is full of adventure, wolves, and a girl’s determination to …

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Queen of fantasy Cornelia Funke on doing it her way

What’s next for fantasy writer Cornelia Funke and her latest Mirror World series? Malika Kingston joins the excited audience at her Festival talk to find out.  St Mary’s Church in Barnes was packed, almost every seat occupied, even the awkward ones on the side. Who was everyone eagerly waiting to see? Million copy selling German-born fantasy …

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The Etherington Brothers share their comic book genius

Who better to show us how to create a totally unique and unputdownable comic than The Etherington Brothers? Juliet Vandensteen meets the dynamic duo. Robin and Lorenzo Etherington are the whacky duo behind comic creations including Long Gone Don, The Dangerous Adventures of Von Doogan and Monkey Nuts. In addition to creating their own weird …

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Writing a detective story with Robin Stevens

Author Robin Stevens knows just the right ingredients to whip up a gripping murder mystery novel… Bethany Park investigates.   Introduced as “The Queen of Children’s Crime Novels”, Robin Stevens’ Festival talk was full of mysteries, villains, iced-bun breaks and exclusive lessons in how to write your own detective story. If you haven’t read the …

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Shh, don’t tell anyone, the Imagination Seekers are on a mission to save Dahl’s words from disappearing

The Ancient Guilt of Tale Tellers are recruiting and Arno Bryant may have made the grade. Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers is an interactive theatre experience for children between seven and 10, inspired by the words of the renowned children’s author, Mr Roald Dahl. Created by Rob Wilson and Polly Conway, the performance is …

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Duo Danny Wallace and Jamie Littler on their hit Hamish and the WorldStoppers

Tom Collins meets Danny Wallace and Jamie Littler, the brilliantly silly creative duo behind Hamish and the WorldStoppers, to talk about their fear of the ‘pause’, very honest audience feedback and how Danny can improve his openers.   As successful creators of grown-up fiction, what’s the biggest challenge when creating something for a much younger audience? …

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Marcia Williams brings Shakespeare to life

Cartoonist and author Marcia Williams makes Shakespeare seriously cool, says Malika Kingston. Marcia Williams’ original plan was to give an interactive reading of The Tempest, one of the four books which make up her comic-strip Shakespeare mini series. However, her French Bulldog got hold of the masks before the children could. Fortunately, the pup didn’t …

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Creator of The Gruffalo, Axel Scheffler on the art of illustrating picture books

The Gruffalo illustrator talks to Arno Bryant about bringing characters to life. Since teaming up with children’s author Julia Donaldson in 1993 to bring The Gruffalo to life, Axel Scheffler, the German illustrator, has become a household name. To date this worldwide bestseller has sold more than two million copies, been turned into a short …

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Cerrie Burnell tackles social stigmas using the magic of storytelling

CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell tells Juliet Vandensteen why stories are for everyone. Diving straight into the session with engaging enthusiasm and excitement Cerrie began by talking about one of her favourite stories as a child, Alice in Wonderland. With her long blonde hair, bright blue eyes and fair skin, Cerrie said she always felt just …

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Dynamic duo Lauren Child and David Mackintosh on their creative marriage

Lauren Child, the creative genius behind children’s classics Charlie and Lola, Ruby Redfort and Clarice Bean, and her graphic design guru David Mackintosh, were one of the highlights of the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival. Sagal Mohammed listened in as they revealed the secrets of their working relationship. The children were all ears as the duo …

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Feminism, gender, identity and love: why young adult fiction matters

  Books are a window onto the world and a platform for discovery. That was the message when the authors of some of the UK’s bestselling young adult fiction, Sarah Crossan, Holly Bourne, Lisa Williamson and Clare Furniss gathered for a thought-provoking discussion. Sagal Mohammed listened in. Chaired by Katherine Woodfine, the panel spoke about …

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Jacqueline Wilson brings her wonderful world to the Barnes Booktop

Best known for creating characters such as Tracey Beaker and Hetty Feather, Dame Jacqueline Wilson has spent her life writing novels that present serious topics with childlike innocence. The Barnes Booktop Marquee was full to bursting as she took to the stage to introduce her 104th book, Rent a Bridesmaid. When it came to question …

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5 things we found out about author of Once, Morris Gleitzman

Carnegie Medal nominee Morris Gleitzman talks to Tom Collins about the authors and books that inspired him to write and how his heroes in Once got their names. 1.He wasn’t born in Australia. He was brought up in Sleaford and is the town’s second most famous resident after… Jennifer Saunders “I was actually born and brought …

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