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Town abuzz during book festival

Town abuzz during children's book festival

02 November 2022
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Hundreds of young readers enjoyed the exciting return of the Wokingham Children’s Book Festival held during the weekend of October 15 and 16.

Back for a fifth year, authors from across the country came to Wokingham to share their enthusiasm for their stories and stir the imagination of children, who came out in strong numbers with their families and schools.

A total of 12 talks were held across Wokingham Town Hall and the new Wokingham Library at the Carnival Hub, with a diverse line-up of guests also hosting virtual sessions.

After listening to the authors share insights about the creative process, visitors were able to get signed copies and photos with their favourites.

Eleven schools signed up for the ‘Authors into Schools’ sessions, with a total of 2,357 children getting involved in eight sessions, which were held remotely over the course of three weeks.

Sharing the magic of reading

Cllr Sally Gurney, chair of Wokingham Town Council’s Arts and Culture Committee, said: “What a wonderful weekend! The authors shared their boundless enthusiasm for stories with us, their audiences equally enraptured by otter antics, magic tricks, and reluctant superheroes.

“The power and creativity of the imagination was on full show, with young fans delighted to meet their favourite authors, and inspired to write and draw their own tales. It’s such a joy to share my own love of reading with all these young people – and parents too – and to be able to bring together so many brilliant authors and illustrators to share the magic of story with Wokingham’s children is both a privilege and an absolute pleasure.”

Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services for Wokingham Borough Council, said: “It was so encouraging to see how children are still excited and inspired by reading. The book festival is always a magical event: I think it brings out the best in our youngest residents when they get a chance to share their passion for something.

“The town was truly abuzz throughout the weekend and it was great to see the new Wokingham Library bringing joy to so many people. Not only did we have a strong attendance to ticketed events, but there was also a lot of children involved through Authors into Schools. One of the key elements of the book festival is ensuring all our residents, regardless of their economic background, have access to such a vital resource.”

Festival regular Holly Webb got the weekend underway by talking about her new book The Story of Green River, while the funny and brilliant Steve Antony was another highlight, as he explored famous landmarks and taught children how to draw characters from his award-winning books.

The other authors were:

  • Sufiya Ahmed
  • Christopher Edge
  • Jane Elson
  • Nizrana Farook
  • Sophy Henn
  • Yijing Li
  • Louie Stowell
  • Sean Taylor
  • Tim Tilley
  • Ross Welford

The book festival is brought to you by Wokingham Town Council, Wokingham Borough Council’s Library Service, Love Wokingham, more arts and some very dedicated volunteers.

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