We’re thrilled to share the news of a new litfest being launched this autumn in Bristol by Kate Frost, Director of HULF’s Children’s & Teen Events. Here’s Kate to tell you all about it…
When Debbie Young appointed me the Director of Children’s and Teen Events for the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival at the start of 2019, little did I know that by the end of the year I’d also be the Co-founder of the Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival for Bristol.
As well as writing fiction for adults, I have a time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds published called Time Shifters.
I’m passionate about giving children the opportunity to read, write and be creative, and being involved in the Storytale Festival, I hope, is the perfect way to achieve that.
Off to a Flying Start
I had intended to do one creative writing workshop for children as part of the 2019 Bristol Festival of Literature, but when they put me in touch with Ellie Freeman, a Bristol community activist, mum and passionate book lover who’d been thinking about starting a book festival for children, things began to go in a different direction.
We had talked about starting small, with twelve events over the October half-term week, but the festival took on a life of its own with authors and illustrators coming to us and asking to be a part of the inaugural festival. In the end we had turn people down with the suggestion they contact us about next year’s festival – and that’s before we even knew if the first festival would be a success! (Ask me on the 4th November!)
Storytale Festival will run from Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November 2019 in venues throughout Bristol. Rather than having twelve events scheduled, we now have more than 40, including prequel events running up to the main festival.
We have no funding, our Arts Council England application was turned down, and so we’ve relied on the huge amount of generous support from people, venues and companies to make the festival a reality.
Storytale’s flagship event, Wild Writing with Anna Wilson, Chris Vick and Mimi Thebo will open the main festival on Saturday 26th October with a wildly fun session featuring huge cardboard animals!
More wild and wonderful creatures can be discovered during BBC producer Justin Anderson’s Secrets of Snow Leopards event at Stanfords, while children will love being immersed in stories and creating their own characters with illustrators Paula Bowles and Nicola Colton during their events, Superkitty at the Elephant House, and Smart Kitties and Mucky Pups at Storysmith.
Festival highlights will include a Writing for Children panel at The Watershed, co-hosted by the Bristol Festival of Literature, along with a spookily good alternative to trick or treating on Halloween, a battle between Thriller vs. Horror at Foyles with YA authors Tracy Darnton and Gabriel Dylan.
Children can get creative and write their own stories in three very different creative writing workshops based on climate change, fantastic ideas, and time travel, led by authors Damaris Young, Emma Read, and of course myself!
Arnos Vale will be the wonderfully atmospheric woodland setting for storytelling for youngsters in the events, Winter Sleep and “Uh-Oh” Said Flo.
Immersing children in the joy of storytelling will continue with popular YouTuber Jenny the Story Lady at The Southville Centre, and with Pridie Tiernan from The Wild of the Words at Windmill Hill City Farm.
We have storytellers, illustrators and authors giving their time for free to engage with and inspire children of all ages, and we hope that October half-term in Bristol will be filled with exciting, affordable (lots are free) and memorable events that will capture children’s and adult’s imagination.
And once it’s over, we’ll turn our attention to next year and how we can build on the huge learning curve we’ve had this year, starting a city-wide festival from scratch. Oh, and I’d better start thinking about HULF 2020 as well!
For full details of Storytale Festival 2019, visit its website: www.storytalefestival.com.