Introducing Literally Book Festival Day Five

It’s been a fabulous and manic week and tonight I got some fabulous photos from Gren Smith from the week!  So here they are, don’t forget to pop and see us all day at Theatre Absolute from 9.30am.

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Introducing Literally Book Festival Day Four

Today has started with some wonderful school events including Barbara Mitchelhill at Sacred Heart. We had a brilliant morning learning, reading and enjoying and making sure all the children were cured with Victorian cures for their ailments! There was dirty socks around the neck for a cold and filling teeth with rubber. We had a lot of fun!


Over on Twitter there was lots of thanks from schools and authors for their great days out:

This is one of my favourites!
Author Ellie Irving tweeted this picture and caption!

Spotted on the walls of a pub toilet. Ooh, the people of Coventry are sticklers for grammar!
Ellie also tweeted that she had enjoyed her event and that the children had great imaginations!

Bablake school had a visit from Alex Gutteridge, they tweeted this pic of Alex and the librarians! (wouldn’t that be a great band name!)

alexJust returned from a fascinating talk by scriptwriter Stewart Harcourt at Warwick Arts Centre. Feeling inspired!

Having a great week, visiting 3 great schools, an event at the Criterian with Cov Writers Group, and the awards last night!

Bloomsbury are sending me to Coventry. Look outAldemoor Farm Primary, get thinking about your favourite monster!

It’s been another great day and that’s not all, tonight we have the great debate

The Big Debate: “Is there any subject too controversial for teenage readers?

Join best- selling authors not afraid of a bit of controversy! Alan Gibbons, Bali Rai, Celia Rees, Dave Cousins, Andy Mulligan and Irfan Masters. Meet, mingle and carry on the discussion over some light refreshments

ECG-26, Engineering & Computing Building, Gulson Road at Coventry University. 7.30pm – 9:30pm   

Introducing Literally Day Three – The Big One!

Day three of the festival brings the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards to the city along with our award winning authors.

I’m ‘fresh’ home from the awards ceremony, still on a high from giving a speech for Sir Quentin Blake, but I have also met some other amazing people today and so have the children in Coventry!

I stewarded a first for the festival an event at Coffee Tots with Rhonda Armitage and Layn Marlow for their Inspiration Book Award winning A Very Strange Creature.  The children loved acting out the story, singing songs and doing crafts with Layn and Rhonda and I enjoyed hosting them for the day and also ‘doing the sights’ yes, we do have some in Coventry and it’s nice seeing it through someone else’s eyes!


With thanks to the fabulous Stacey Raven Photography for the pictures.

I met Levi Pinfold at the station with his steward Julia, they had a great day at Parkgate primary and they have shared a few pictures with us…

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Helen Watt enjoyed her event at Tile Hill Wood, and here’s a sneaky peek at the gifts our authors get!


And the awards…what can we say about those?  Well they are always an inspiration, the readers talking about each book as ever did us proud, what a great city of readers we belong to!  Our very own Alex T Smith live tweeted through the ceremony so you can find pictures of all the winners and some comments from authors in our tweet feed!

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What an amazing day and evening!  And it is still going on!  Keep following us on Twitter: @literallycov #covbkfest


Introducing Literally Book Festival Day Two

Well, there was a Coventry family feel to today with local author’s Alex T Smith, Ann Evans, Cathy Cassidy and Rosie Goodwin arriving in Coventry.

We held out first ladies (and men) who lunch event with Rosie Goodwin at Blue Bistro, it was a lovely informal way to meet an author and we really could have talked all afternoon!

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Alex T Smith went down a storm at with All Saints and Hollyfast primaries with all the children joining in learning how to draw Primrose!

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Various other events across the city were enjoyed by all ages, more event pictures will be added as they arrive!


Guy Bass Author tweeted: Thanks for everything, – mine was a fun . Good luck for the rest and keep doing what you do.

Linda Collingwood Committee Member tweeted: Brill visit at school by author William Osborne . Used to live in LA + chose to visit Cov!

St Osburg’s school tweeted: A lovely afternoon with at the Warwick Arts Centre! Another successful event thanks to

Tracy Lynch Committee Member tweeted: “Being a writer is a lot of waiting around with sml bits of very exciting stuff” tells us


Introducing Literally Book Festival Day One

What a start to the festival!

The excitement started when our very own author and illustrator Alex T Smith decorated one of the windows at Waterstone’s Coventry with a handpainted Lady Godiva and the team there added books from many of our authors.  It looks brilliant!


Events happened today at schools across the city, Warwick Arts Centre and the Central Library –

Kathleen McGuiness said on facebook “I have just hosted an author event at St John Vianney. The lovely talented, Jo Simmons came to town to tell us a whiskery mystery! She now has a whole bunch of new fans! We had a bonus though as the great Alex T Smith paid an unexpected visit too with Sian his lovely mum. It was a great event,A good time was had by all so thank you, all who were involved. What a great start to the week!”

Alison Patchett said on facebook “A big thank you to all at SJV. A group of thirty excited children and adults came back to Mount Nod after a thoroughly entertaining afternoon. What a great start to the event for our children….”

Author Sam Gayton tweeted “Thanks for having me – especially to Dom who drove me round, brought me a cheese and ham sandwich and let me call him an old fart!”

St Osburg’s tweeted “Year 5 has a lovely afternoon with author Sam Gayton.  A big thank you to Literally for organising it”

Author Lou Kuenzler tweeted: “Did lovely event at @LiterallyCov huge fun and fabulous questions from the kids.  Many thanks to all for setting it up.  Fab festival with brill stuff”

Iain Broome tweeted: “Lovely evening reading at @LiterallyCov and thanks for my #saucybookmark gift”

What a great day!  Do add your comments about any events you went to below.

Like Alex T Smith’s artwork?  Want to win it?
If you would like to win Alex T Smith’s signed Lady Godiva window poster for your school all you need to do is draw your favourite book character on an A4 piece of paper and bring it in to Waterstones Coventry by 23rd June 2013
Please write your name, age and school on the back of your drawing, and good luck! The winner will be notified by 26th June 2013

Great opportunity!  Join us tomorrow for more fun!!  If you want to write up an event you attended as a blog, please do, email to




Invite from Cathy Cassidy

Coventry kid Cathy Cassidy invites you all to her talk at Sidney Stringer:

Hello Coventry Kids,

I am so excited to be back in my old home town of Coventry to take part in the Coventry Literally Festival… how cool? I’ll be in the middle of a book tour, talking about my brand new book Coco Caramel, and it’s brilliant to be able to be a part of the book festival too!

 My event will be on Tuesday 11th June at Sidney Stringer Academy, Primrose Hill St, Coventry CV1 5LY, between 10-11.45am, and anyone aged 9-13 is welcome! The event is free but places are limited so PLEASE BOOK via

I’ll be talking about how I got started in writing and how I work now, about where ideas come from and how characters and stories are developed. I’ve even got a quiz so you can see which character in my Chocolate Box series YOU’RE most like… and there’s an amazing competition to tell you about, too! There’ll be time for you to ask questions, and books to buy and have signed and personalised too, of course.

I hope that some of you will be able to come along and make my visit to Coventry special. Will readers from my lovely old schools, Our Lady’s and Bishop Ullathorne, make it along? Or from St John Vianney, Finham Park, Ernesford Grange or Frederick Bird schools where I have done school visits in the past and met the most amazing kids? Or perhaps even Foxford or Henry VIII where I did teaching practice, long ago, when I was training to be an art teacher – or Bablake, my Dad’s much-loved old school? Maybe Cardinal Newman, Cardinal Wiseman, Barr’s Hill, Lyng Hall, Stoke Park, Westwood, Coundon Court or St Joseph’s Convent? If you live in or near Coventry, I’d love to meet you… come and find out how another ‘Coventry kid’ made her writing dreams come true!

Keep smiling, keep reading – and follow your dreams!

Cathy Cassidy


Cathy Cassidy is the bestselling author of the Chocolate Box Girls series, the Diazy Star books and stand-alone titles such as Gingersnaps, Angel Cake, Indigo Blue, Scarlett and Sundae Girl, a winner of the Coventry Children’s Book Award.

Literally Bookmarks

Last year we had Cash’s silk bookmarks made with Alex T Smith’s fabulous Godiva logo on it to give to each visiting author.  It was a special gift to say thank you.  This year we are offering the community the chance to buy one of these special keepsakes to support the festival.

Read the Coventry Telegraph article via the link below to find out more…


Introducing Literally’s teacher supporter Suzanne Hughes

Let me start by saying how excited I was to be involved with the start of Coventry’s literally festival and how delighted I am to be involved again this year. I am passionate about reading and always have been. As a child I remember loving my sister reading “The Tiger That came to Tea” and enjoying it every night! My taste has changed slightly, although as a y6 teacher, I still love children’s literature – particularly Anthony Horowitz and Michael Morpurgo, I now have become more interested in the classics, especially Jane Austen. 

As said earlier, I am a year 6 teacher, and an assistant head at a lovely Coventry school. I am extremely lucky to be in a position that I love my job, and never wake up dreading the challenges that lie ahead. The fact that I can combine my love for children’s literature with my work is truly an added bonus. In addition to reading, I love outdoor pursuits and unashamedly, will plug Dol Y Moch – for giving children (and teachers) in Coventry such a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and take measured risks. I am also very lucky to have a beautiful 16 yr old son, and an inspiring sister with 3 beautiful sons in Coventry – which in my spare time, I love to spend time with!   

Suzanne Hughes

Assistant Head St Thomas More

Introducing Literally’s Coffee Tots

Coffee Tots is a drop-in cafe located in the City Arcade. Our vision is for Coffee Tots to provide a place of safety where parents/carers can come and relax with young children, meet others and receive additional support. It is our priority to encourage parents to play, read and engage with their children, helping to improve the parent/child relationship as well as the child’s development. We run craft and cooking activities, story and rhyme times, puppet shows and have out lots of toys to play with. We are keen to encourage children’s learning whilst they make friends and play. This is why here at Coffee Tots we are delighted to be taking part in Literally Coventry Book Festival. We hope that by having a visiting author to the cafe the families who visit might be inspired to explore reading. It will be nice for the children to hear a visitor read new stories with new characters and illustrations. This promises to be an exciting opportunity for them to enjoy using their imaginations and get a flair for books and reading. Hopefully the festival will also help to encourage parents to read for their own enjoyment and promote storytimes at home. 

We look forward to taking part.

Amy Corbould

Children and Family Worker

Introducing Literally’s Ian Collins

Introducing Ian Collins, English teacher at Sidney Stringer, Coventry

I have had in the past the pleasure to accompany students from Sidney Stringer to several Book Award ceremonies. As a keen reader and long-serving English teacher, the combination of the chance to hear established writers speak, and be with students enthuse about books and reading, meant the events were always something to look forward to.

In 2010 Sidney Stringer moved into beautiful new buildings. The Principal was (and is) determined the school should be a hub for community activitie,s so when we heard the Coventry Literally Festival was looking for venues, we were delighted to offer our facilities.

Last year’s events were very successful and I hope the quality and location of Stringer as a venue played its part.

We look forward to being involved in delivering a dynamic and popular reading festival to the people of Coventry and surrounding district again this year – and into the future.



Introducing Literally’s Sian Smith

Meet Sian, Retired Head, mother of an Author & Illustrator and book lover…

Tracey McGeever asked me to join the team as I had recently retired from Headship and she felt I would have time to spare! I loved the idea of Coventry’s own book festival so I agreed – and that’s when I stopped having any ‘time’ and for the next six months life became a frantic round of meetings, funding discussions / issues as well as the fun part of reading lots of books by the authors and illustrators that had been invited- not that I ever need an excuse to read!

So why did I really agree to get involved? Well I love reading, story telling, theatre, and book shops. I come from a family of readers and storytellers.

My Welsh English teacher, writer father introduced me to many and varied stories, authors and poets and my Irish mother could spin a great yarn and tell endless stories from her childhood. If you have ever been at a Irish family gathering, you will know exactly what I mean!

As an only child, many happy hours were spent ‘escaping ‘ to different places with different people and I envied the ability to write .

Teaching was the best job to allow me to indulge a passion for children’s books – I love them! I love the illustrations, the silliness of many of the stories and mostly I love the way books and stories can light up a child’s world and offer opportunities  to escape into another world, to learn about the world, who they are and who they aspire to be. I’m so lucky and proud now to be able to enjoy, understand and experience the process of creating books though a talented family member who writes and illustrates.

Literally…. gave us the opportunity to give many young and not so young in this city the chance to experience the talents of many authors and illustrators (and the committee loved those opportunities too!) I’ve worked with new people, made new friends and laughed!

Last year was hard work, we had sleepless nights and we hardly stopped to breathe during Festival Week but it was an amazing experience and so here we are again  ….. Meeting, worries, no time BUT… It’s exciting, inspiring and actually I can’t wait for June to do it all again!

Introducing Literally’s Tracy Lynch

As a fulltime working mum of two great teenage girls, like most people I went to and from work each day, and although I always saw myself as community spirited. I never looked at what was really happening on my doorstep. Take it from me – it is worth looking!

My previous role before being seconded as a Business Connector was as the Retail Support manager for Greggs. In the 18yrs I have worked for Greggs I have moved from a 16hr shop girl, through the ranks to be part of the senior retail management team. In all the years I have worked for Greggs I have always been involved in their charity and community work, but this secondment has opened my eyes, and my mind to how relatively easy and how much more businesses can do to help.

In May 2012 I took up the role of Business Connector in Coventry for 12 months.  Coventry has lots of great people doing lots of great things, to encourage enterprise, enhance education, create great communities and inspire the youth. What they all need is more funding but that doesn’t always mean money.

With a city full of businesses ranging from banking to engineering and everything in between, we should have all the resources we need to help keep these projects going and then benefit from their success.

I came across Coventry Literally within my first month on secondment and was blown away by its concept and the commitment of the team.

I have now become involved and hope to be able to get business support and also to open up some unusual venues for this year’s event.