Barnes Children's Literature Festival Returns As UK's Largest Dedicated Children's Literature Festival :: NEWS

Barnes Children's Literature Festival Returns As UK's Largest Dedicated Children's Literature Festival

23 May 2022 Share

Barnes will become the children's books capital of the UK when the Barnes Children's Literature Festival returns from Tuesday 9 to Sunday 26 June 2022.

The UK’s largest dedicated children's literature festival will return with a packed programme of more than 100 author events, performances and free activities on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June.  

In addition, it will offer over 11,000 free places as part of its newly extended Primary Schools Programme at sites in Barnes, Wandsworth and Tower Hamlets. 

Public Programme – 25 – 26 June  

Liz Pichon, the superstar creator of the Tom Gates series; the million-selling author Dr Adam Kay; household nameDavid Baddiel; Robin Stevens who delights readers with her Murder Most Unladylike series and Festival favourites Axel Scheffler and Rob Biddulph lead the line-up. 

Rob Biddulph, the Guinness World Record holder and creator of #DrawWithRob which kept us all going through lockdown, has also designed this year's Festival poster which stars his dog Ringo and a nod to Barnes' beloved Judith Kerr who lived in the village for sixty years.  

Also on their way to Barnes are the Green Wing actor and comedian Steven Mangan and there will be a very special joint event with mega award winning author Kiran Millwood Hargrave and artist husband Tom de Freston based on their stunning Waterstones Gift Book of the Year, Julia and the Shark.  

Other confirmed authors over the two day public weekend include the middle grade marvels M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman, Maz Evans, Chris Smith, Piers Torday, Emma Carroll, Pamela Butchart, Sharna Jackson, Lucy Strange, Sam Copeland and Jenny Pearson. 

Some of the best known names from picture books will also delight pre-schoolers including Lydia Monks, Nick Sharratt and Chris Haughton. Get ready for illustration battle stations too with the comics legend Jamie Smart creator of Bunny V/S Monkey and Neill Cameron! 

There is plenty of entertainment for non-fiction fans too including Horrible Histories' Martin Brown and Mr Dilly's World of History. 

Once again at Barnes, the littlest book fans are not forgotten with an appearance by Laura Henry-Allain MBE, from CBeebies JoJo and Gran Gran, a musical storytelling adventure with BBC Radio 4 presenter Zeb Soanes, and interactive events based on the bestselling Busy Party and That's Not My... books.  

Barnes is always committed to programming a few special treats that audiences are unlikely to see at festivals elsewhere and that sit outside a traditional author/illustrator event. This year's highlights include Paddington Bear's First Concert and theatre workshops based on Sophie Anderson's book The House with Chicken Legs by Les Enfants Terrible, never before seen at a festival. 

There will also be family workshops with Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Aardman Animations, the Oscar winning studio behind Wallace & Gromit and Brickbuzz Lego.    

Education Programme  

Barnes' stellar programme extends to their renowned free Primary Schools Programme which has been expanded again this year to three venues: the Genesis Theatre in Tower Hamlets (9-10 June), a new site at the Wandsworth Civic Suite (16-17 June) and four days in Barnes from Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 June to offer 11,000 children the chance to see an author or illustrator for free. 

Authors and illustrators ready to inspire children and their teachers in Key Stage One include former BookTrust writer-illustrators in residence Dapo Adeola and Nadia Shireen, Sainsbury's Children's Book Award winners Serena Patel and Steven Lenton, hilarious picture book pairs Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet and Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Rikin Parekh and Patrice Lawrence who will introduce her new historical picture book about the Windrush migration.  

The Key Stage Two programme includes Waterstones Children's Book Prize winner Onjali Q Rauf, Costa Children's Book Award winner Jasbinder Bilan, Blue Peter Book Award nominee Hannah Gold, mega bestselling authors Ross Welford and Lisa Thompson, and the winner of the Children's Poetry Prize, Joseph Coelho, among others. 

After the huge success of the 2021 Festival, the first literature festival to return in real life after the pandemic, Barnes will be back to full strength in June returning 'with more books, more fun and more surprises' than ever before.  

Amanda Brettargh, Festival Director said “We were so proud to return last year during the lockdown. Even with the government's restrictions on event capacities, social distancing and so on we were still able to provide maximum book fun for thousands of families over the Festival weekend. It felt so good to be back in the room with books - and with zero contacts from NHS Test & Trace! 

'When we first started beside beautiful Barnes Pond back in 2015 we were just trying to do our own little thing. But every year we discover all these brilliant new books that we just know the kids will love and that's what keeps us going - and growing.”    

The Festival is centred around Barnes Green beside Judith Kerr's much loved duck pond, that lends it's village fair feel and this year will include a wider, entirely outdoor programme with free family activities, live music and performances and circus acts.    

The Festival is presented in partnership with the University of Roehampton and Waterstones, who will act as bookseller. 

Tickets are on sale now: