The annual Bath Children’s Lit Fest that runs Friday 27 September – Sunday 6 October has just announced it’s line-up and boy are we excited!
The 2019 festival line-up is bigger than ever before and includes some of the best names in children’s books and its Schools Programme content reflects that. Visitors to Bath this year include legendary author of How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell, Edge Chronicle creator, Paul Stewart, CBeebies star Jess French and television presenter turned author Ade Adepitan. Everyone’s favourite funny man, Andy Stanton is also coming, as are BBC Radio One’s Greg James and Chris Smith. There will be multiple events running every day in the city and authors visiting schools in Bath and the surrounding area. This autumn’s festival will be reaching more people than ever.
The schools events will inspire, entertain and educate young people. Themes range from tackling world pollution to making friends in a new school and children taking part will be able to meet some of the world’s top authors, be encouraged to create their own work, or perform on stage as part of a poetry slam.
Bath Children’s Literature Festival – the largest children’s literature festival in Europe – is now in its 13th year. Every year it brings a host of international names to audiences in Bath and as part of its creative learning project runs a schools programme that directly involves and engages schoolchildren in primary and secondary schools. More than 40 schools took part in the 2018 programme, with some 4,000 children benefiting.
Highlights of the 2019 Schools Programme include:
Award-winning author Cressida Cowell, creator of How to Train Your Dragon (also a DreamWorks film) returns to the festival by popular demand. Cressida will talk about her latest book, The Wizards of Once: Knock Three Times, as well as How to Train Your Dragon, and give tips on becoming an author or illustrator. For the first time in the Schools Programme this event will be held at the Forum, Bath’s largest venue.
Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan has turned his talent to writing books, Ade’s Amazing Ade-ventures: Battle of the Cyborg Cat and Cyborg Cat and the Night Spider. Inspired by his own experience of moving to London from Nigeria and having to make friends at a new school, Ade talks about how he adapted to life in a new country and tells of competing at the Paralympics and travelling the world.
Conservationist and zoologist Dr Jess French went down a storm last year with her Mini Beasts show. This year she’s back in Bath to tackle one of the most important issues of our time. She’ll be talking about waste and how we can make changes to help make our planet a nicer place for all.
The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart is one of the most-loved fantasy series for children. Finally, after 13 books and numerous spin-offs, 2019 will see the series draw to an epic conclusion with the final book in the saga, The Descenders. Paul Stewart will be talking about the inspiration behind the series, his writing process and his long-running collaboration with fellow author, Chris Riddell.
Award-winning author-illustrator Rob Biddulph, the official illustrator for World Book Day, introduce his new picture book Show and Tell – about everybody’s favourite part of school. Find out how Rob became an illustrator, learn more about his books and draw one of his characters too.
The outreach programme sees writers, illustrators and performers spending time in local schools. Taking part are performance poets Laura Dockrill and Dean Atta and authors Taran Marathu and Lucy Powrie.
Ian Stockley, CEO of Bath Festivals says “Bath Festivals is a charity that connects the community through the power of the arts. Our school events are a critical part of the festival’s all year-round outreach and creative learning programme, where we foster a sense of connection in a culture where many children eschew “real-life” contact to online activities. I am thrilled that the schools programme sits at the heart of the Children’s Literature Festival.”
Artistic directors for the festival are John and Gill McLay. Gill McLay says: “The schools programme is so important to the festival. John and I believe whole-heartedly that every child has the right to books in their life. Unleashing the imagination and the freedom to question and explore new worlds, cultures and possibilities is essential and hopefully the schools programme helps us to offer that opportunity to more children and reach out further into the community.”
Bath Festivals is a charity which works in collaboration with Bath Spa University, who is its Creative Partner again this year, and supporters and sponsors: Royal High School Bath, Kingswood School, Novia and Bath BID.
Other authors in this year’s Schools Programme are:
Tracey Corderoy and illustrator Steven Lenton to talk about their characters Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam.
Matt Goodfellow, National Poetry Day ambassador, will be performing his high-energy poems, including pieces from his new collection Chicken on the Roof.
Award-winning author and illustrator Adam Stower will share the exciting world of King Coo with his latest book King Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold.
Traveller Abi Elphinstone has seen the Northern Lights and lived in Africa and Mongolia. Her new series The Unmapped Chronicles will bring out the adventurous spirit in her audience.
Kristina Stephenson, author of Sir Charley Stinky Socks, stages a theatrical event with puppetry, costumes and audience participation as she asks Why Are There So Many Books About Bears?
Million-selling author Caroline Lawrence writes history-mysteries and her latest book, The Time Travel Diaries, sees a London schoolboy travel back in time to Roman London.
Story teller and author Atinuke has collected facts and stories from the rich continent Africa, and she’ll be sharing some of these from her book Amazing Africa.
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of picture book Giraffes Can’t Dance with illustrator Guy Parker-Rees, whose love of drawing animals is infectious.
The hilarious creator of the Mr Gum series, Andy Stanton, has created an equally silly new series set in ancient Pompeii, The Paninis of Pompeii.
The full programme will be available to view on our website at the end of June: www.bathfestivals.org.uk.
General booking for tickets will be available in July (online, counter and telephone bookings).