The Storyfest children’s book festival burst onto the scene this weekend in Hartfield, the centre of Winnie the Pooh land and a stones throw from the 100 acre wood. The festival played host to the wealth of literary characters and famous authors, turning this beautiful country town into a thriving literary community, powered by smiling children and the written word!
From live poetry and storybook readings from award winning authors (including Knife and Packer, Tracey Corderoy, Ali Sparks, Adam Stower and Paul Stickland to name but a few!), to dressing up, making crafts, learning how to illustrate or even taking some tea in the company of the Mad Hatter- there was plenty to enthrall both adults and children!
As mentioned above, the weather was good to the hundreds of visitors who turned out on both Saturday and Sunday, meaning that they could enjoy the variety of activities on offer- one of the most exciting things about Storyfest. Emma Stillwell, organiser of the day said;
“We had sold out of tickets to the author workshops by lunchtime. Some of those events were for up to 120 people so it was an incredible achievement for us. We thought we were going to struggle with all the bad weather we have had but actually for the weekend it has been beautiful. I think it was a success as it was a totally different event and really exciting for children to enjoy. It’s been amazing to see children everywhere here today with their noses in books!”
Having their own bookshop on site, children had the rare opportunity to buy a book (or bring one from home) to have it signed by the author themselves the very same day! The poetry takeaway did a roaring trade providing free portions of delicious poetry to its visitors-first performed directly to them and then taken away to enjoy again at home… there were comic strip lessons and illustration workshops and even a theatre where children could watch a selection of 2 minute pieces from the Hartfield Community Play ‘Parallel Lives’.
Both Sophie and Mandie from the Mulberry team went along, with Mandie bringing her two children- who both agreed that the fesival was great fun. So a festival which gets children reading but also lets them discover that its fun?! Sounds like a win-win situation to us!
We were very proud to be involved in such a worthwhile scheme and offer a massive congratulations to the team who organised the event! Roll on next year!