Splendid summer of literally literary festival festivities!

It’s fair to say that this summer our team have been out and about all over the place, but we’ve not just been on our holidays, oh no – we’ve managed to attend and work at some brilliant Literary Festivals too! Kirsten has been the busiest of us all and she’s written a brilliant recap below…

“I am such a happy bunny! Without even having to travel too far I have had a summer full of authors and books in the most lovely festival settings imaginable, and have added to my treasured collection of books signed by authors I love!

Do I have favourites? Of course (you know who you are)! To be fair to all authors and festivals, the top highlights below are in chronological order – with the most recent first… Did you miss them? WOW you missed out! Don’t let it happen again!

Voewood Festival (15-17th August)– In the most magnificent Arts and Crafts house and garden imaginable I had a weekend of wonderful and intimate experiences with authors and their books…

KF and PAPhilip Ardagh simply MUST come back to Norfolk soon! All our children need to be entertained by him and his beatific beard! Also, so lucky to have as Norfolk residents the talented, 2014 Baileys Prize winning and inspiring beyond words Eimear McBride and the most consummate of interviewers – Chris Gribble of the Writers Centre Norwich… thanks to Norwich independent publishers Galley Beggar Press for believing in the book! The delightful children’s books and art works of local illustrator and artist Lucy Loveheart brought EVEN more magical glitter and sparkle to the whole weekend… and I have to mention Jodi Ann Bickley too – http://onemillionlovelyletters.com/ – she is a new talent and if she has her way the whole world will be lifted and comforted by lovely letters. This adorable young woman is one to watch and is looking for volunteers to help her write letters and raise money for the stamp fund! Help if you can!  (picture courtesy of Philip Ardagh himself!)

Latitude (16th-19th July)– Michael Rosen shared Chocolate Cake with a huge audience! Also the verbally virtuosic Luke Wright was hugely entertaining to all age audiences in the Poetry tent… and comedian, political activist and author Mark Thomas is my enduring programme anchor every year he has been at Latitude… “whatever else is on at the same time – I HAVE to see Mark Thomas” … if he is not there next year I will be devastated!

Norwich Children’s Book Festival (2nd July) (and not just because I closed it, which was an honour!) Thanks to all at Norwich School who arranged it and entertained us – Marcus Sedgwick, Paul Dowswell, Cathy Macphail and Simon Mayo! What a treat! it was such a thrill to talk with students from 24 schools about how much they were enjoying the day too! See Apryl’s mention about the day here.

UEA Festival of Literature For Young People (23rd-27th June)– hard to know how to summarise with such a packed programme of wonderful authors working directly with young people… but our Norfolk SLS Author In Residence, Dee Shulman was fantastic (and is still available to book to work in any school in Norfolk!). Also, I was delighted to be of service to the splendidly fabulous Sally Gardner, when dinner, lunch AND a spot of shoe shopping in Norwich was needed! Her CILIP Carnegie Medal winning book Maggot Moon was my ABSOLUTE standout children’s book last year.

The Autumn is looking promising too – with a selection of delightful and accommodating authors who will be at our Norfolk leg of the International Kids Lit Quiz (we take schools from neighbouring authorities too). And a conference in the planning including authors, books, children and lots of engaging workshops… watch this space!”

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