Eagle House Children's Literature Festival

Eagle House hosted its sixth Children's Literature Festival over two days this September. Eighteen authors gave talks, signed books and enthused young audiences from a range of local schools as reading was put centre stage.

Photo: Eagle House
Jacqueline Wilson at the Literature Festival
Jacqueline Wilson at the Literature Festival

25th September 2021 — Eagle House hosted its sixth Children's Literature Festival over two days this September.

Eighteen authors gave talks, signed books and enthused young audiences from a range of local schools as reading was put centre stage.

The Children's Literature Festival began in 2010 at Eagle House.

The idea was to showcase reading and invite authors along to talk about their books and what inspires them.

Since then it has grown into a two day festival that draws some of the best authors and opens its doors to local schools as well.

This year Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who launched her new book 'The Primrose Railway Children', was a highlight.

Award winning author Philip Reeve spoke about his new book 'Utterly Dark and the the Face of the Deep' and illustrator Rob Biddulph delighted Years 1 to 4 with a drawing workshop.

The now bi-annual festival is becoming a recognised event amongst children's writers and the aim is to make it an occasion to which more local schools can come and hear and meet the authors and get enthused about reading.

This year over 200 children from local schools attended, alongside nearly 400 Eagle House pupils.

The festival runs its own bookshop and cafe and parents are welcome to come along and attend the author sessions.

A regular participant is the Once Upon A Story Bus, a double decker bus transformed into a magical world of storytelling, that is resident over the two day festival.

The aftermath of the festival is a surge in young people's reading, a love of books and a desire to write stories.

The older children understand how a book is created and how ideas are turned into the pages of a novel.

The range of topics covered by authors is also important.

Manjeet Mann spoke about her book 'Run Rebel', the background to the story and the challenging environment that is the backbone of the narrative.

Alex Wheatle MBE, gave an inspirational talk about growing up in care, the time he spent in prison and how he 'found' reading; the power it can have on an individual and how his compelling stories are written to pull readers in, perhaps for the first time.

Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq gave a brilliant talk about her book character Cookie and blended in the amazing science that lies within the stories.

Andy Seed brought the ocean to life with his book 'Interview with a Shark and other Ocean Giants Too'.

Tom Palmer spoke movingly about his wartime bestsellers 'After the War' and 'Arctic Star' to a mesmerised group of Years 5 & 6 children.

They also enjoyed sessions from Elizabath Wein, Ross Welford, Katya Balen, Chris Bradford, Ally Sherrick, Chris Vick, Sarah McIntyre, Jenny McLachlan, Sam Sedgman and Matt Oldfield.

The festival will return in 2023 with even more writers and with a continued resolve to showcase the brilliance of children's literature.

Eagle House (Coed 3-13) is a day and boarding school in Berkshire.

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