Children’s Events

Introduction to children and young people’s events

This year, more than ever, the festival’s children’s programme is a celebration. We are celebrating anniversaries with some of the world’s best authors, the fun that children’s books bring, and the excitement of meeting favourite writers.

Philip PullmanWe are particularly proud to be hosting a special event with Philip Pullman, pictured right, to mark the 20th anniversary of His Dark Materials, the most significant children’s books of the last 50 years. Oxford is where the story of Lyra and Will begins and, with discussion, readings and clips from the Hollywood movie The Golden Compass to set the scene, this will be unmissable.

Former Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne is celebrating 30 years of Willy the Wimp. Anthony will be talking, drawing and inviting his audience to play ‘the shape game’. Best friends Cressida Cowell and Lauren Child both have book anniversaries too and are sharing a platform to swap stories.

We are excited to welcome Judith Kerr, creator of all-time favourite characters Mog and the Tiger who came to Tea. The extraordinarily talented Frank Cottrell Boyce is coming too to launch his brand new children’s book, The Astounding Broccoli Boy, and James Mayhew is visiting for the first time. Join James for a unique, family-friendly performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition – James will be painting live, accompanied by a pianist and storytelling as he goes.

If you missed superstars Liz Pichon or Jonny Duddle last year, never fear, they are coming back and to bigger venues! And on the subject of superstars, Holmes versus Bond – which is best? They go head to head in a special event with Young Holmes author Andrew Lane and Young Bond author Steve Cole.

Holly SmaleYA literature is producing some of the most exciting new books of the moment and we are delighted to welcome Holly Smale, pictured left, creator of the one and only Geek Girl. We also put three rising stars in the spotlight: Catherine Doyle, Melinda Salisbury and Lisa Williamson. You can also hear Lisa Williamson’s editor David Fickling on what makes a children’s book great.

Plus there are workshops for children to try writing, illustration and even philosophy; sessions to make you cry with laughter, and some to send a shiver up your spine. And we are inviting everyone to celebrate the best children’s books, including their own favourites, in a Good Read session, inspired by the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature.

And did I mention the Minecraft event taking place at the Story Museum, special partners for the children’s programme? Or the fact that there’s an event to celebrate a certain boy wizard too.

See you at the party.

Andrea Reece
Director of young people’s programme


For the full line-up click here