Thursday, 18 September 2008

Second Bath Festival of Children's Literature by Marie-Louise Jensen

One day to go till the festival begins. The programmes have been distributed, posters have gone up and lots of tickets have been sold. Many events are already sold out. There is a team of people working hard already – there has been all year - but on the surface, everything is quiet.
On Friday this week, the festival opens and if it’s anything like last year, the city of Bath will go wonderfully mad. Groups of parents and children rush from one venue to another clutching tickets and books to be signed. Excited queues form outside the venues and children stand patiently (or not) in long signing lines snaking back through the Guildhall and the Forum, waiting to meet their favourite author or illustrator. Last year authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Michelle Paver and Francesca Simon signed for several hours each, still making time to speak to each child individually. And many, many other authors delighted fans of all ages in events all over the city.
Bath will go book mad and it will feel as though every child in Bath is an avid reader. And I’m sure the events will inspire many children to become just that. I’ve noticed with my own children that even a modest bookshop author signing inspires them to read more. Last year’s festival had them talking, thinking and reading nothing but books for weeks and weeks.
It wasn’t just the children either. The parents had a great time too. And I saw lots of unaccompanied adults at events with no excuse at all, except the simple enjoyment of children’s fiction.
Behind the scenes is a huge schools’ programme, reaching many children whose families might not otherwise bring them to the public events. And a chance for us lesser-known authors to speak to children and – one can only hope – help more of them discover the joy of the world of books.


M B said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Not having much of a brain, I had completely forgotten that this was happening. Now, I have been able to book tickets to see my all time favourite author!!!

Marie-Louise Jensen said...

That's great! Hope you enjoyed seeing whoever it was!

william said...
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