BARNES CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FESTIVAL
‘Delightful, imaginative, innovative – and beautifully organised.’ Dame Jacqueline Wilson
London now has a world class children’s book festival’ SF Said
London’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival returns to Barnes on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June 2020, attracting some of the UK’s best known authors and illustrators for a fun filled weekend for young book fans and their families.
The new dates, later than previous years, will celebrate the late Judith Kerr’s birthday, who lived and worked Barnes for more than sixty years. This year’s programme will celebrate Judith’s books including the 50th anniversary of Mog, the nation’s favourite family cat, and feature a very special event with superstar author illustrators Lauren Child and Axel Scheffler remembering her remarkable life with children’s books editor of The Sunday Times, Nicolette Jones.
Judith’s dear friend, fellow children’s literature legend. Helen Oxenbury will also make a rare festival appearance and has designed this year’s Festival branding which has been inspired by one of Judith’s most famous creations, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, and her own classic, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Helen will be joined by a stellar line up led by Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, former model and author Sophie Dahl, master storyteller Chris Riddell. Julian Clary, Lydia Monks and Giles Andreae will also tell their stories.
Following the huge success of 2019, which sold more than 10,000 tickets at eighty events and £21,000 worth of books over the weekend, the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival is celebrating its sixth year with more than a hundred readings, workshops, performances and free activities.
The Festival opens on Tuesday 9th June 2020, with its Primary Schools Programme, four days of specially curated, curriculum linked sessions, provided free to pupils in all state maintained schools in London. For almost all of these children this is their first experience of live literature; the majority are eligible for free school meals and many do not own a book.
This year 6,000 children will have the opportunity to engage with their favourite authors and illustrators including Jeremy Strong, Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, Katie and Kevin Tsang and Joseph Coelho for Key Stage One, and Pamela Butchart, Ross Welford, Lucy Strange, SF Said and Lisa Thompson for Key Stage Two.
Other confirmed authors over the public weekend include the middle grade marvels Robin Stevens, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Katherine Rundell, Ade Adepitan, Michelle Paver, Pamela Butchart, Onjali Q Rauf and Sophie Anderson, and some of the best known names from picture books including Booktrust Writer in Residence, Ed Vere, Lydia Monks, Rob Biddulph, Chris Haughton, Jonny Duddle and Kristina Stephenson.
There’s plenty of fun for non-fiction fans too with appearances from Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Dr Emily Grossman, Dr Max Pemberton, Dr Amanda Hartley, and mathematician Bobby Seagull.
Barnes is always committed to programming a few special treats that audiences are unlikely to see at festivals elsewhere. The multi award winning illustrator James Mayhew will join the acclaimed youth orchestra Wyatt Sinfonia for a family concert combining classical music with live painting based on his new book of stories from Russia, Koshka’s Tales.
Other highlights include Alice’s Scientific Adventures in Wonderland science show with Professor Tom Solomon, a magical new Pippi Longstocking storytelling event from Danyah Miller (Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe In Unicorns) and ABC of Opera with Mark Llewelyn Evans.
Making their first UK literature festival appearance will be Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre who will be performing family-friendly versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.
Aardman Animations, the Oscar-winning studio behind Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, are also bringing their clay modelling workshops back to Barnes this year.
Barnes also provides specific programming for babies and very young children including the return of Baby Broadway and the That’s Not My…story time sessions based on the bestselling books. The first festival event based on the Sticker Dolly Dressing books, Princess Party, promises sparkly craft for little ones.
For families with children with extra needs, Barnes also provides multi-sensory storytime sessions with author and special needs tutor Rose Robbins.’
The Festival is centred around Barnes Green beside Judith Kerr’s much loved duck pond, that lends it’s village fair feel. Unlike the other top tier festivals, Barnes is completely organised and delivered by more than 130 volunteers, including founder and director Amanda Brettargh, who describes the Festival as ‘literacy lovingly wrapped in community.’
‘At Barnes, volunteers from every school, church and community group come together to transform the village into London’s capital of children’s literature.
‘Judith Kerr was part of our Festival family and it is a huge source of pride that Mog the Cat, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Pink Rabbit were born beside Barnes Pond, and so many of the world’s favourite stories and poems, like Jan Pienkowski’s Meg and Mog and Haunted House, and Roger McGough’s Sound Collector and Sky in the Pie.’
Barnes is a festival standard bearer for paying author and illustrator fees, in accordance with Society of Authors guidelines. From their launch in 2015, they have paid professional fees in recognition of the time given by authors and illustrators to bring their talent, words and work to Barnes.
The Festival is presented in partnership with the University of Roehampton, the Barnes Community Association (BCA) and Waterstones. The full programme will be announced before tickets go on sale in April (Ed. Date to be advised.)