HULF’s Children’s Events Director Founds Storytale – a New Festival for Young Readers in Bristol

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…

banner ad for Storytale Festival

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.

arragy of book covers

Kate Frost writes for both adults and young adults

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!)

Vital Statistics

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.

Generous Support

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.

Events List

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.

You can also follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @StorytaleFest.

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HULF Author Trevor Stubbs Sets Up YA Events at Bristol Lit Fest 2019

headshot of Trevor Stubbs

Trevor Stubbs writes Young Adult novels

We are delighted to share news of one of our HULF regulars starting up an exciting new project in nearby Bristol targeting young adults. Trevor Stubbs writes:

The Bristol Festival of Literature is coming up next month (17th-27th October 2019). Last spring, I was challenged by a fellow author to make a pitch for an event for young adults as part of the Lit Fest and, as a writer of young adult fiction, I saw the need for such an event immediately.

It would not be about promoting my own work but encouraging teenagers in Bristol to be part of the city’s culture and impact – both regionally and internationally.

Four New Events for Young Adults

The pitch was taken up by Bristol libraries, and we now have not one but four events on the card:

  •  Fishponds (Wednesday 23rd),
  • Bishopston (Thursday 24th)
  • Horfield (Saturday 26th)
  • on Monday  21st there will be a similar event for schools at Junction 3 library in Easton

The first three events are free of charge and open to all. We have a team of six authors, including myself, who will be answering the questions of young people about reading and writing:

  • Adrianne Fitzpatrick
  • Kate Frost
  • Wendy H Jones
  • Stella Wilkinson
  • Willow Woods

All of the authors are coming at their own expense and will receive no fee. Of course, they will bring their books to sell, but all they really want to do is be sources of inspiration for the young people.

Young People of Influence

Young people are becoming ever bolder in addressing the burning issues of our times straight on.

  • Greta Thunberg, aged 16, has taken on the leaders of the world without fear and restraint in leading the fight against climate change. “How dare you!” she says to all – both the advocates of fossil fuels and the rest of us for sitting around and not getting on with what needs to be done.
  • Mulala Yousafzai is campaigning for girl’s education – a message she directs not just at her native Pakistan but to all of us.

Trevor’s Perspective

A few years ago, I was criticised by a young woman for being too male, middle-class and white. At the time I didn’t know what I could do about any of that, but thinking about it since, I think I know what she meant. I was too establishment, too ponderous, too content with the world as it was. We can’t help being some of the things that go with being comparatively rich, well-feed and looked up to – as a retired vicar, I know what that means – but we can make sure we are not content with a world that is falling apart.

The science of global warming, the horrific statistics on world poverty and the impact of violence (to call it ‘war’ is to be too polite) on people and our environment is tearing our planet and human society apart; it is not sustainable.

Our young people want to be heard. We need to give them a voice and this is where encouraging them to read critically and write effectively comes in.

The aim of the Young Adults events in four of our Bristol libraries is to help our teenagers to discover their voices, their talents for writing and other forms of self-expression so that they can make their own contributions to the debate that will change our world for the better. The times are critical; it will be the younger generations that will suffer the full implications of the things we do, or fail to do, now.

Let our young people learn, let them speak, let them write and let us all listen.