Brilliant Bath

I cannot believe that we have now finished the festival for this year.  Many thanks to all the people I had the pleasure of working with and especially to David Almond who was artistic director for the second year.  Next year we will be back in the very safe hands of John and Gill McLay, who founded the festival and were responsible for the impact it has had on children’s literature events in this country.  I was only able to help out for the first weekend as we were away on holiday for week two, however I still met up with some old friends, made some new friends and heard some fantastic sessions.

Miffy in Bath

Miffy in Bath

Perhaps the high spot was seeing the effort that people went to in making the Miffy event such a success.  Congratulations to Kelley Townley for her patience with the costume that was so heavy and hot – what a star she is.  I also had the pleasure of stewarding on the first night of the festival and saw Andy Stanton hosting a book quiz ( I did not totally disgrace myself with my knowledge, but some of the children were amazing) and then saw a panel discussion about the future of teaching.  Of course this was followed by the launch party at Waterstones and a real opportunity to catch up with the many friends I have made over the years.

Andy Stanton, a quiet moment!

Andy Stanton,
a quiet moment!

Saturday I had a day off, but on Sunday I was in Bath for the Miffy event and also a session by Thomas Williams, who was one of the curators of the “Vikings” exhibition at the British Museum, as he talked about his book concerning the life and death of King Harald of Norway. The only thing I had known about this king before is that he was defeated by our King Harold, who then went on to be killed at the battle of Hastings.




Monday saw me back at the Guildhall where Michael Rosen  spoke to several hundred children, all in his own inimitable style.  I then stayed on to hear the lovely Michaela Morgan talking about the two books she has written about Walter Tull (I hope to mention these in a special blog about WWI titles later this year.

with Michael Rosen

with Michael Rosen


with Michaela Morgan

with Michaela Morgan




I had hoped to go to the School Library Association Information Book Award on the Tuesday evening, but having been to the local Centurion Book Award ceremony in the morning (to receive the award on behalf of David Walliams) I really was beginning to run out of steam.


Martin Veal, Chair of B&NES council

Martin Veal,
Chair of B&NES council


I know that there were some great sessions later in the week, especially for teens and I know everyone had a great time.  I am sure that the team are already beavering away to create the programme for next year and they will have us stewards queueing up to help as it is such as friendly and enthusiastic event, with the most amazing yet down to earth writers and artists taking part.  I love this festival.

Festivals and more


I have been reminded recently that we are now in the middle of Festival season.  There have been some great posts on Facebook about the fun at Edinburgh and I am so envious of all you lucky people who were able to attend, both as visitors and as participants.  We have just had the stewarding schedules put out for the Bath Kids Lit Festival and I look forward to seeing lots of great friends there at the end of September.  I also heard on the TV this morning that booking has started for Cheltenham Festival which begins on the 3rd October with Michael Rosen and then Henry Winkler.  I think it is the first time that Bath and Cheltenham have overlapped in this way and it will be interesting to see if it will affect ticket sales over the first weekend in October.  For those who cannot attend any of these events then there is the Children’s Roadshow which is touring the country, visiting 15 cities,  from the end of September until the end of November.  There are some great names and with any luck lots of schools will be taking their children to meet and hear some amazing authors and illustrators.children_bookshow_leaflet[1]

This year I am not doing quite as much at Bath, but I am looking forward to the events I am doing, which include a debate on the future of teaching, Michael Rosen and the ‘Big, Big, Bath Book Quiz with Andy Stanton.  During that week we also have the local Centurion Book Award ceremony and the national ‘Information Book Award’, in association with the School Library Association.

Before all of this activity I have two other book related events that I am attending.  Next week we have the launch of the new book by Lauren Child, which is being hosted at Daunt’s on Marylebone High Street; it is a fabulous book that looks at the issues of having a new baby in the house. The following weekend is the Nosy Crow Conference and the following Saturday is the Cilip Members day, thankfully that is being held in Bristol, so on my home turf.  It’s only when you write all of this down that you see what a hectic month this is going to be and that is before I add in my school governor training.  I will definitely need a holiday after all of that.

Something I will still manage to fit in among all of these activities is my reading.  I have got some really great books in the pipeline and I look forward to talking about them in the near future; they include authors such as Michael Morpurgo, Holly Black and Garth Nix.  There are also some superb picture books at the moment and lots more coming in our direction in time for Christmas.  Why are there only 24 hours in the day, I need more?