Bath Children's Literature Festival


Once again, Bath Children’s Literature Festival delivered 10-days of world-class literary events to the families of Bath and beyond, with some of the most acclaimed authors and illustrators visiting the city for the occasion. The festival opened with Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, author and illustrator of the hugely popular Charlie and Lola series. Other big names included David Walliams, Tom Fletcher, Cressida Cowell, Harry Hill, Terry Deary & Martin Brown, Dermot O’Leary, Chris Riddell, Nadiya Hussain, Lucy Worsley, Ade Adepitan, Julian Clary & David Roberts. There were more creative writing workshops and masterclasses too, and adding to the fun, popular costume characters such as the Gruffalo, Pip & Posy and Little Miss Inventor were seen roaming around the city.

This year saw the launch of their new initiative Share The Story, created to enable more children to enjoy and benefit from the festival. The scheme asked ticket-buyers to donate £5.00 to the Share The Story fund when purchasing their own tickets, with 100% of their donation going towards tickets for children selected by charitable organisations and schools that Bath Festivals works closely with.

Chief Executive of Bath Festivals, Ian Stockley, said “We are thrilled with the wonderful feedback we’ve received from this year’s festival, not only from audience members but also from the authors, illustrators and storytellers themselves. The festival saw more sold-out events than ever before. It is a real privilege to see the excitement on children’s faces when they meet their literary heroes. The festival inspires children to get lost in books, create their own stories, and opens up a world of adventure. We are very proud to bring some of the biggest names in children’s literature to Bath for what is known as the largest dedicated children’s literature festival in Europe.”

Artistic Director of the festival, John McLay said “This was a festival that again made many, many children very happy. They met their literary heroes and let their imaginations fly. We saw kids getting creative every day – drawing pictures and comics, writing stories of their own and laughing along with the great storytellers we had from all over the world. Gill and I are already working on the plans for next year’s festival and it will be even better so watch this space.”

Highlight events:

Bath welcomed David Walliams and chair, Ade Adepitan with open arms on the first full-day of the festival. Ade quizzed David about his career in writing, encouraging him to describe some of his much-loved characters and how they reflect some of his own childhood memories. The event included animated storytelling, bags of humour and intriguing questions from children in the audience. The ‘World’s Worst Children’ were conjured up on stage with subtle undercurrents of adult humour that engaged the whole audience. Ade and David had everyone in stitches and received a rip-roaring applause at the end. Tickets for this event sold out within 72 hours of going on sale.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Horrible Histories, renowned author, Terry Deary, made his first public appearance in ten years. Terry was joined by partner in historical crime, the hugely talented illustrator Martin Brown, and the duo entertained the audience with live music and drawing.

Cressida Cowell had the audience spell-bound. Recalling stories from her childhood in the Hebrides, she described the interesting landscapes that inspired characters from her ‘How to train your dragon’ and ‘The Wizard of Once’ series of books. Sprinkling the audience with gold dust, Cressida cast a spell over the children, encouraging them to use their imaginations and create their own stories. Last year, Cressida launched her first book in the ‘The Wizards of Once’ series; this year she introduced her newest book ‘Twice Magic’.

Bestselling author and lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of McFly, Tom Fletcher, delighted the audience with a jam-packed event full of music and storytelling. Appearing for the first time at the festival, Tom brought the characters from his children’s books ‘The Creakers’ and ‘The Christmasaurus’ to life.

Back by popular demand, festival-regular Harry Hill, entertained the audience with stories from his latest children’s book ‘Matt Millz’, Britain’s youngest comedian. Never without a prop, Harry showering the audience with icing sugar via his clarinet, sang amusing songs whilst playing his mini guitar and encouraged children to take part in his custard-pie-in-the-face antics. Everyone left with smiles on faces and books in their hands.

The festival’s schools programme offered a variety of incredible week-day events. Highlights included the Flying Fergus event with Chris Hoy, Joanne Nadin and Clare Elsom; Supertato and Friends with Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet; Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth with Frank Cottrell Boyce; and a Poetry Slam on National Poetry Day that saw six schools write, perform and compete on-stage to win best poetry performance of the day, with Anna Groves from St. John’s Catholic Primary School being crowned Poetry Slam Champion.

The festival may have come to an end but another kids’ lit megastar will be coming to Bath especially for Christmas. Tickets are now on sale for Michael Morpurgo’s Christmas event in the Pavilion on Sunday 9 December. Michael will re-tell the much-loved story by Raymond Briggs – ‘The Snowman’ and will be joined by ‘The Snowman’ illustrator Robin Shaw. Tickets can be purchase from Bath Box Office on 01225 463362 or online at

Bath Festivals is a charity and they work in collaboration with Bath Spa University, who are their Creative Partner again this year, and their supporters and sponsors: Prior Park schools, Royal High School Bath, Kingswood School, Novia and Bath BID.