Festival of Children’s Literature Family Day

16 July 2016

Our first Festival of Children’s Literature will take place at Kestle Barton on July 15 and 16. July 15 is a schools’ day, with invited school children from the Keskowethyans group of five local primary schools attending.

Saturday July 16 will be our grand Family Day, open to all, with plenty of interesting workshops, activities and FUN.

Writer Christopher William Hill will introduce his wonderful series of books set in the rather gothic town of Schwartzgarten. One teacher says,’ I’m recommending this book to the children I work with, confident they’ll be delighted by the sly wit, the adventures, the relationships, the horror-movie schlock, the sumptuous food … and, above all, Hill’s mischievous sleight of hand and vivid storytelling.’

Mary Evans has been writing very funny versions of the Greek God tales for children and we will have a sneak pre-publication introduction to the hilarious tales she has to tell in Who Let the Gods Out?

Chris Higgins will be launching the latest in her quirky and entertaining, My Funny Family series of books; this one is My Funny Family Down Under.

Illustrator Theo Carter-Weber will lead a workshop in which the children will produce and illustrate short stories and Lucy Grant will lead other creative activities.

In the afternoon, local children’s author, Judy Scrimshaw, will be sharing her adventures of Morgowr, the Sea Giant in a marquee in the garden and The Story Republicans will be popping up here, there and everywhere with poetry, songs and stories to entertain all ages.

Our gallery and garden will be open as usual with no entry charge. The Festival coincides with an exhibition of paintings by Nicola Bealing based on some rather dark stories she has unearthed in Helston Museum’s archive. The children’s workshops and activities will cost only £4 for each child – for a whole day of interest and fun.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England


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Piers Torday

Piers Torday’s bestselling first book, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as numerous other awards.

His second book, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2014. The third book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond, was published in 2015.

Born in Northumberland, where there are more animals than people, he now lives in London – where there are more animals than you might think… This is an Amazon review:

The Last Wild is a highly original story of a boy called Kester who is mute, but realises he can communicate with animals. This is particularly startling as he lives in a time when all the animals have been wiped out by a terrible virus. The Last Wild tells how a flock of pigeons and a particularly confident cockroach lead him to the last surviving group of animals in a desperate attempt to get him to help them save themselves. Kester’s (and the reader’s) love for animals grows as the story progresses. By the end we too love the animals, even the cockroach, because the animals have demonstrated their qualities to us – their loyalty, their strength, their bravery, and their fight for justice. I don’t want to give too much away – it’s a fast-paced, creative, brainstorming triumph. Buy it for every child you know aged about 9 or older.

Mary Evans

Mary Evan’s Who Let the Gods Out? is highly recommended as a funny story of the Greek Gods.

One Amazon review reads:

Although aimed at the 9-12 market, this comic tale had me in stitches. From Aphrodite running a dating agency to Mammon disguised as a despicable member of the Rich List, the myths of old are contemporised in such a fashion that no 9-12 year old reading it will ever again confuse the Goddess of Love with the Goddess of Wisdom. Mary Evans is the mistress of the witty one-liner – “as neutral as a magnolia sitting room in Switzerland”; “as rich as King Midas. Before he invested all his wealth in sea front property in Atlantis.” I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

Mary is an author, scriptwriter, playwright, journalist, lyricist, poet, dinner lady and whatever else pays the gas bill. A graduate of the MA in TV Scriptwriting at De Montfort University, this year Mary was shortlisted for the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum. Mary has won the scriptwriting competition. Her debut novel WHO LET THE GODS OUT? was published in 2014.

Chris Higgins

Local author Chris Higgins lives in Penzance and has published the very successful series of My Funny Family books. Her last book was My Funny Family Gets Funnier. Described below:

Nine-year-old Mattie is excited. Uncle Vez’s brother and his wife have come to visit! With their Australian guests, life in the Butterfield household is even more chaotic than usual. Mattie just has one worry on her Worry List … Has Grandma met her match in Aunty Sheila?

Chris likes to work with children on character development, drawing, naming characters and giving them some interesting attributes. So although My Funny Family is written for the younger age range probably years three and four, the workshops Chris leads will work well with older children too.

Theo Carter-Weber

Theo Carter-Weber is a writer and illustrator who has recently moved to the area and who loves to work within the particular environment he finds himself in. It’s a big change form West London but he is enthused with the idea of working in the rural setting. He describes the workshops he will lead in this way:

Compassionate collaborations – making short stories while solving problems in groups.

In this workshop, we shall walk in the idyllic surroundings of Kestle Barton, viewing its beauty and taking inspiration for our stories. Once seated, we will begin to form short stories- with each child beginning their story with a problem.

Our short story books will consist of 3 parts – beginning (problem) middle (exploring possible solutions) and an end (conclusion to story)

The objective of this workshop is to have each child write/illustrate (or both) a beginning, middle and end section…. only NOT in the same short story. In other words, after each child completes a section they pass their book over to another child to pick up where the other child has left it.
In doing this we shall see how the children can help each other with particular problems and how they could be solved!

Will ALL children have the same ideas? No, of course not! Will ALL children help each other solve problems and produce fantastically fascinating stories? We HOPE so, YES!

Christopher William Hill

Christopher William Hill was born in Truro, Cornwall. His mother was a nurse, so Christopher grew up with a copy of Black’s Medical Dictionary to hand – the perfect book for an enthusiastic hypochondriac. As a child he liked putting on silly voices and collecting ancient relics which he gathered in a large walk-in wardrobe that he called his ‘museum’. Christopher loves ocean liners, airships and cake shops (but not necessarily in that order).

His books including Osbert the Avenger, are set in a town called Schwarzgarten. A young reader’s review from Amazon is here:

It’s a gruesome story of murder but it’s less gruesome than Horrible Histories. It is about as scary as Harry Potter but a bit more gory.

I recommend this book for children aged 9+.

On the front cover it mentions being similar to Roald Dahl; that is not true because Roald Dahl is suitable for much younger children.

I like this book because it’s gripping, exciting and it makes you want to keep on reading.

Judy Scrimshaw

Judy Scrimshaw lives close to Kestle Barton and writes and illustrates children’s stories under the name of Granny Moff Books.

Her website describes her as follows:

Granny Moff is an eccentric old lady living in what used to be a derelict barn and cow shed, in deepest, darkest Cornwall. There is a dragon on her roof, a stone Sea Giant in her garden, which leads down to a magical creek on the Helford River Estuary. Usually accompanied by chickens, pigs and ponies; her long suffering husband spends his time filling numerous bird feeders and growing flowers.

Her ambition to publish a book featuring Cornish creatures – written, illustrated, edited, printed and published by local people living in Cornwall has been fulfilled with this first book ‘The Ballad of Morgowr’.

The first of many Morgowr adventures is written and illustrated by Judy Scrimshaw. There are actually three stories within the one book.

The Story Republicans

Created by Kernow Education Arts Partnership (KEAP) and funded by Arts Council England, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the RSA, Cornwall Council and Falmouth University, The Story Republicans are an entertaining team of glamorous performers who go out and about at events, in cafes, on the beach, sharing stories and poems, as part of a larger Story Republic project.

The Story Republicans include: Katie Clucks, Jasmine Cole, Bryher Flanders, Nina Hills, Steven Kelly, Katie Kirk and Keith Sparrow.






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