Introduction to this year’s children
and young people’s programme
Nothing compares to the thrill of meeting writers in person and hearing them talk about their books. For the festival’s 20th anniversary year, we have an extra special children’s programme, designed to excite and inspire young audiences.
Star authors coming to Oxford to share their books with us include Jacqueline Wilson, pictured left, who will be talking about some of her best-loved characters; the creator of the one and only Tom Gates, Liz Pichon; and the Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, who will be drawing the answers to our questions. Chris will also be exploring creativity in a not-to-be-missed event hosted by award-winning author and founder of the Freedom to Think campaign, Jonathan Stroud.
Plus, Holly Webb will be taking us back to the Secret Garden, Philip Ardagh and Axel Scheffler will be opening up the world of the Grunts, and the Sheldonian Theatre will once again host a Harry Potter extravaganza. If it is laughs you are after, there will be jokes galore from Julian Clary and David Roberts as they introduce their brand new book The Bolds to the Rescue, and also from comedian and World Book Day author of The Person Controller David Baddiel.
We are welcoming some wonderful illustrators including award-winners Lauren Child, pictured right, and Emily Gravett, Steve Antony and Gary Northfield, and Oxford’s own Ted Dewan. We are delighted that James Mayhew is returning to the festival with pianist Alexander Ardakov, this time to present a unique, family-friendly performance of Tchaikovsky’s piano suite The Seasons, featuring live music and live painting. There will be music too as part of Jane Ray and Kevin Crossley-Holland’s event, which will transport audiences to 18th-century Venice.
There are lots of opportunities to join in – check out our programme of weekday events for a variety of writing and illustrating workshops, there is no excuse for being bored this holiday – and thinking is always allowed, especially at festival favourite Peter Worley’s philosophy workshops. You can even get to grips with the Bard in a special Shakespeare family workshop with actor, director and RSC artist Fi Ross and even have tea and cake while discussing murder with the authors of some of the best new crime fiction for young people.
For the very young, there are storytelling sessions, a chance to party with Kipper, and a minibeast hunt with CBBC star Jess French.
Stars of young adult fiction
And as young adult literature continues to produce some of the most exciting new books of the moment we are delighted to welcome stars Sarah Crossan, pictured left, Holly Bourne and Sita Brahmachari one weekend, and rising stars Nicole Burstein, Eve Ainsworth and C J Skuse the following. Another event brings together two of the finest authors writing for young people, Frances Hardinge and Philip Reeve in a session that will open the world of the imagination.
In fact, with so many different events, and so many talented authors, there really is something for everyone. So come along, meet the authors and illustrators, explore the wonderful city of Oxford and its beautiful colleges, have extra fun at our partner the Story Museum, and go home happy and inspired.
Director of young people’s programme