A South Birmingham book festival is set to return for a fifth year, with a series of events celebrating children’s books and reading.

The Bournville BookFest was born in 2014 when Sarah Mullen from Bournville Busy Parents Network brought together artists, storytellers and families on a budget of just £2000 awarded by Bournville Village Trust – and with no experience of running a festival!

Now with more than 10,000 tickets at 150 events across 10 days and more than 20 venues, children and their families can enjoy a wide range of sessions at this year’s event – from fiction to non-fiction, from local storytellers to internationally renowned authors!

Venues include schools, libraries, community cafes and hubs, parks and more in South West and Central Birmingham.

Michael Rosen

New for 2018 is a schools programme featuring prolific children’s author, poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen at Edgbaston School and an inspiring draw along event at the Town Hall with renowned author and illustrator Nick Sharratt.

There are non-fiction events this year too. Lucy Worsley, TV historian and chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces, will inspire with Lady Mary, her new novel for young readers.

In celebration of women receiving the vote 100 years ago in 1918, Kate Pankhurst – a direct descendent of women’s suffrage campaigner Emmeline – will deliver an interactive storytelling event.

Tony De Saulles will be enthusing children at Cotteridge School with his Horrible Science.

Author, poet and funny man, Philip Ardagh, shares The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge: Medieval Knight in Training with audiences at Bournville Junior School.

I Believe in Unicorns

As well as the written word, the festival will celebrate other forms of storytelling. Comic lovers can enjoy a masterclass with Gary Northfield, whose creations have appeared in The Beano and The Dandy alongside The Phoenix and National Geographic. And – straight from his recent work with The Birmingham Repertory Theatre – Craig Denston will help youngsters make their own masks, fit for the stage.

There will also be a magical, inspiring performance of Michael Morpurgo’s, I Believe in Unicorns, at Town Hall – which includes a very special book swap as children bring along their favourite book to form part of the set, and leave with a new book to enjoy!

BB Taylor and Sox

The festival celebrates local talent too, with half of the performers, artists and authors showcased are from the Midlands, including children’s author BB Taylor and her trusty sidekick Sox the raccoon.

With a range of ticket prices (from £3.50 per child and £1 per accompanying adult) there should be something for everyone and there are free storytelling events in local libraries as well as story walks and campfire tales.

Festival Director Sarah Mullen said: “Creating Bournville BookFest has been a true labour of love. I started the festival to bring together talented authors and artists with Birmingham families so that together we could bring stories to life and inspire the next generation of children with a love of reading. I love seeing children’s faces light up when they meet their favourite authors or discover a new story.

“We’ve come a very long way in just 5 years and I’m absolutely delighted that we’re attracting the likes of Michael Rosen, Nick Sharratt and Lucy Worsley to the festival.

“We know that by offering a wealth of free and affordable events, actively welcoming every type of family living in the city and, as the only children’s book festival in the UK to programme specifically for children with disabilities and additional needs, we are truly accessible to all and having a genuine impact upon the city of Birmingham.

“This is a children’s book festival like no other. We don’t just host author events (although they’re brilliant!) we also explore storytelling through many artistic forms, from drama to animation, from illustration to mask-making and paper engineering pop up books. It is this wide-ranging and fun approach – together with a warm and genuine welcome – that makes Bournville BookFest so popular with Birmingham families and children and means 100% of people surveyed last year said they’d definitely return to the BookFest and recommend it to friends”.

Tickets are on sale and selling out fast! See www.bournvillebookfest.com for full details.  


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