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Yorkshire's First Major Children's Literature Festival Hailed As “A Resounding Success”
Clare Balding
The inaugural Yorkshire Children’s Literature Festival, which took place at Broughton Hall, near Skipton, this weekend, has been hailed as a resounding success.

More than 65 authors, poets, illustrators, storytellers and animators, including Clare Balding, Sir Chris Hoy, M G Leonard and G P Taylor, took part. Over 200 schools were involved, reaching out to over 40,000 children across Yorkshire.

More than 5,000 people attended the festival, which was the brainchild of Trevor Wilson, the managing director of Authors Abroad, the leading organiser of authors’ visits to schools across the world.

It fulfilled Trevor’s life-long dream of bringing some of the biggest names in children’s literature to the idyllic setting of Broughton Hall, home of the Tempest family since the 11th century.

He explained: “The festival was a resounding success. The feedback from the authors themselves was amazing, many saying it was the most enjoyable festival they had ever attended. The smiles on the faces of the children – and the adults – spoke volumes too.

“The line-up was strong, considering there had been nothing like this in the north of England, so we had entered uncharted territory. But we are proud of what we achieved. We are hoping very much to put on another similar festival next year – details to be announced once I’ve had a rest and a holiday,” he smiled.

Clare Balding, a best-selling children’s author as well as a much-respected and loved media star, commented: “It was a privilege to take part in Yorkshire’s first-ever children’s literature festival. I loved reading as a child – and it was such fun and such an honour to convey that love of literature to as many children as I did this weekend.

“I was immensely heartened by the positive response I received from so many Yorkshire children, who showed that a love of reading and writing is really flourishing in the county.

“Reading is hugely important when you are young. I think it allows children to escape into alternative worlds but it’s also a really good way of learning about practical and emotional situations,” she added.

Tony Walsh
Trevor Wilson stressed that a central theme of the Festival was to involve the 200 schools in the Skipton and Craven region, covering both North and West Yorkshire. All these schools received a visit from one of the authors or poets taking part in the Festival.

There was also be a short story competition with a winner from every school. Each winner had his/her story published in a ‘proper book’ thus making them real authors. In addition, there was a magical scarecrow trail in the beautiful grounds of Broughton Hall, which proved very popular.

The Festival was partnered by the pioneering mental health charity, The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, that helps train teachers to recognise, and then address, mental health issues in young children such as cyber bullying and peer group pressure.

Sir Gary Verity DL, Chief Executive at Welcome to Yorkshire, said “Yorkshire has a great literary history, with internationally acclaimed writers including Alan Bennett, the Bronte sisters, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson and many more, so it’s fantastic that the county’s stunning Broughton Hall played host to an array of wonderful children’s authors at this major children’s literature festival.

“Books play an important part in people’s lives and it’s crucial to encourage reading at a young age. This fabulous event promises to be a lot of fun for all ages”.

The final word goes to Nick Arnold, the award-winning author of the Horrible Science series, who said: “This was an absolutely brilliant festival – superbly organised and tremendous fun. I loved every minute of it.”

Yorkshire's First Major Children's Literature Festival Hailed As “A Resounding Success”, 3rd October 2018, 8:51 AM