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.
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.
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.
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.
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.