Derby Book Festival announces Children’s authors on World Book Day

Children from Derby City schools will have the chance to meet award winning children’s authors and illustrators, Sarah McIntyre, Philip Reeve and Marcia Williams in June at two Derby Book Festival Meet the Author events, sponsored by Cosy. The organisers have announced the events today (2 March) on World Book Day.  Every infant and primary school will receive invitations for six children from Years 2 to 6 and two adults to each of the events at Derby Theatre.

Secondary school pupils won’t miss out.  Year 7 students will be invited to meet author Christopher Edge at the University of Derby.  Christopher’s previous novel The Many Worlds of Albie Bright was described by The Times as proving “the theory that novels about science can be enormous fun.”  His latest novel The Jamie Drake Equation again has a science theme, this time about having an astronaut for a dad.  

Author Philip Reeve and author/illustrator Sarah McIntyre have created a number of award winning books. They are best known for Oliver and the Seawigs, Cakes in Space, and Pugs of the Frozen North.   Their latest novel is Jinks and O’Hare Funfair Repair.  Their events are zany and fun and the children can look forward to being entertained and inspired.

Marcia Williams has written and illustrated numerous books since The First Christmas was published in 1987. Many of these have been retellings of classic stories – from Noah’s Ark to Don Quixote – illustrated in her distinctive cartoon-strip style.  She has also written two books about the First and Second World Wars: Archie’s War and My Secret War Diary by Flossie Albright.  The Festival organisers hope that many schools will organise Book Weeks to coincide with the Festival.

The Festival will include a range of events and activities for children and families including author Alex Wheatle who won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2016 for his hard-hitting young adult novel, Crongton Knight,  the second in a planned trilogy set on the fictional South Crongton estate.  Author,  Hilary Robinson and illustrator, Martin Impey will be appearing in QUAD on Saturday 10 June to talk about their delightful picture book, Where the Poppies Now Grow, which has strong links to the Poppies exhibition at The Silk Mill.  The Bringing Books to Life event will return to the Market Place all day on Saturday 10 June with lots of fun, family activities including street theatre, storytelling, pavement art, crafts, face painting, book sales and a book swap. 

Liz Fothergill, Chair of the Festival and the current High Sheriff of Derbyshire, explained: “The aim is to inspire children’s love of reading by enabling them to meet their favourite authors: an opportunity which we believe will stay with them forever.  The Meet the Author events are a firm fixture in our Festival programme and are our key events for schools.  We have chosen authors who will inspire the children, in particular we hope Marcia Williams’ event will give them a better understanding of the impact of war and will make a visit to the Tower of London Poppies: Weeping Window exhibition at The Silk Mill even more significant.”

The children will have the opportunity to hear the authors talk about their books, writing and illustrating, and then to ask questions.  The authors will also sign books after the events.  Schools will decide how to select the children who attend and last year many ran competitions and held prize draws.  The six lucky children will receive a special invitation to one of the author events in Derby Theatre.

Peter Ellse from local firm Cosy, which is sponsoring the two Meet the Author events said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Festival’s Meet the Author events again and to offer children this chance of a lifetime.  Last year we sponsored the Lauren Child event and it was truly heart-warming to see so many children captivated by her storytelling and illustrations.  It is vital that we encourage a passion for books and reading which will stay with them into adulthood.

“We are committed as a school supply business to supporting voluntary work with children locally, nationally and internationally.  To have such a rich and valued event right here on our doorstep is a real treat to be involved with.” 

Throughout the Festival there will be a range of events for children and families, full details of which will be announced when the Festival programme is launched on Tuesday 11 April at a special Derby Reads event in QUAD.  This will be a free event, but ticketed and tickets will be available online at the Festival website: or from the Festival Box Office at QUAD.

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