Not too late to join in!

Literally Coventry 2014 kicks off tomorrow bright and early at 9:00am. But not all events are completely sold out  and there is still Imagetime to join in! Look at http://www.literallycoventry2014.eventbrite.co.uk. We had some unexpected returns for the  previously sold-out Eoin Colfer event on Friday 27th at 1:30 for example. Eoin is a real superstar of the children’s book world and appeals to a wide  age range. He has sold over 20 million copies of his Artemis Fowl books and we think his new W.A.R.P series is going the same way!Eoin is the newly appointed Children’s Laureate for Ireland so do grab this chance to see him.

There are  great family opportunities on Tuesday afternoon and evening. The very funny Jason Beresford will be at WaterImagestones at 4:00 pm. Jason is a Coventry lad finding great success with his Fabulous Four Fish Fingers- four children with super powers

‘This is undoubtedly the perfect reading material for boys and girls aged 7+. Plenty of humour, kids with superpowers but most of all it has heart,’ says Lovereading4kids.

 

Later on at The Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon from 7:00 the local Coventry Writers group will be reading and performing their work. They are a very friendly and welcoming group of all ages and if anybody in your family has any interest in creative writing this is the group for you.This evening has really become  one of the favourite Festival traditions.( n.b dont forget if you have ambitions to write for children we have a  FREE writing workshop with award winning Ann Evans on Sat 28th from 10:00 to 12:00)

If we are going to make the case for continued funding of our unique FREE festival then it is important that we get good audiences. We  know we have a long way to go before we reach the dizzy heights of the Hay, Edinburgh or Cheltenham Festivals or even long established regional Festivals like Warwick Words or Stratford Festival, but  proud to say our Children’s programme for schools is as good or better than most of those! However If you want us to attract big name adult authors we have to be able to prove a track record of audiences. We have some really interesting sessions lined up for adult readers so do grab these opportunities while they are available.

On Monday at 5:30 in Earlsdon Library we have a young woman who is creating quite a name for herself. Sophia McDougall has recently published her first novel for yImageoung people and is doing an event about the exciting Mars Evacuees adventure at Sacred Heart at 1:30. But in Earlsdon we will hear all about her best-selling Romanitas trilogy- this is a totally enthralling and brilliantly concieved series.WHAT IF THE ROMAN EMPIRE NEVER FELL? Twice shortlisted for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, the bestselling ROMANITAS trilogy continues with ROME BURNING, and concludes with SAVAGE CITY, all out now in paperback. Sophia will compare writing for childrenand writing for adults and discuss how history influences her imaginary worlds as well as exploring the role of women in contemporary fiction.

One of the most  unique and exclusive opportunities of the Festival is available on Wednesday 25th at 10:00 a.m at Warwick Arts Centre. If you know any students on exam leave with time on their hands or any film buffs make sure you tell them about The Knife That Killed Me. We have a very special  pre- release showing of the film, bImageased on the best selling novel by Anthony McGowan. Adapted by Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman this  visually rich and thought-provoking story is beautifully told with striking performances from a talented young cast. The film will be introduced by the director Marcus Romer and afterwards there will be a discussion with author Anthony McGowan. “The Knife That Killed Me” is a compelling journey through the memories of teenager Paul Varderman as he reflects on the events leading to the fatal moment his life is cut short. Paul moves to a new school and becomes involved with ‘The Freaks’, a group on the periphery of school life, those who don’t fit in: scene kids, emo kids, indie kids. Outsiders.
At the same time he attracts the attention of the schools twisted and manipulative bully, Roth. When Paul delivers a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a rival school, it sparks a dangerous feud. Faced with growing pressures from both groups, Paul must decide where his friendship lies, a decision that may cost him his life.
Anthony based his novel on his own school experiences  and his anxiety about the terrifying rise in knife crime among young people. Very poignantly his school was the very one where teacher Anne McGuire was recently murdered and she had been his Year 7  form teacher too. This is bound to be a fascinating and important discussion.

Also on Wednesday there is a lunchtime opportunity to meet one of the Coventry Inspiration Book Award winning authors. A for Angelica by Iain Broome won the Wod of Mouth category and Iain will be collecting his award at the ceremony in STmary’s Hall but from 12:30 until 2:00 the Central Library Reading Group will be hosting a very special  discussion with Iain So if you have ever wanted to try out a Reading Group or just want to hear more about the critically acclaimed debut novel. “A first novel that confidently moves from dark comedy that’s genuinely funny to even darker despair that grows from moving to harrowing. Really impressive.”Daily Mail. For a taste of what is in store check out this trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5Djl6Dbt-k&feature=youtu.be

On ThursdayImage 26th, again at the very wondeful Criterion Theatre in Earlsdon, who have been our partners since year 1, we have an evening for all the sports fans out there. If you are depressed by the World Cup come and listen to Chris Arnot instead. This celebrated national freelance feature writer is a regular contributor to the Guardian and has also written for the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and the Observer. His book, Britain’s Lost Cricket Grounds, was long-listed for the MCC’s cricket book of the year in 2011. Following that success the latest book looks at the  declining phenomena of cricket festival – when one of the county cricket clubs takes a week or so of games out of its home ground to a club ground somewhere else in the county, often at the seaside, and attracts a large and festive crowd to a bucolic arena fringed with white marquees, beer tents and deckchairs. Capturing sporting history before it disappears is an Arnot speciality – he has previously looked at Football Grounds- but also at  Lost mines and Lost beers and breweries so a man with many fascinating tales to tell

Saturday 28th is obviously the  day for families to enjoy  some insirational reading experiences together. Earlier on younger children can enjoy the hilarious antics of the Undead Pets and author Sam Hay at Waterstones from 11:00 and at 1:30 there is a lovely Story and Craft session with picture book artist Mat Head in Central Library. While the youngsters are having fun, history fans can meet and mingle, chat and browse the books with some of our most respected local authors. David McGrory, Pete Walters , Chris Holland and Chris Arnot will be at the Belgrade Theatre Local Voices, Local Lives event from 12:00 – 2:00

 Last but certainly not least there are still some tickets left for The Wimpy Kid Show at the Belgrade Theatre at 3:00p.m Remember the cheapest option for booking is online at http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/the-wimpy-kid-showImage

 

Day by day – Festival Finale – Saturday 28th June

By this stage the Festival committee will be on their knees, but hopefully  thousands of children, young people, families and the whole community will have experienced at least one event that inspires them to love reading and all the benefits that can bring to their lives.

Saturday is the opportunity for families to catch up. We understand that during the working week it is difficult to get out and if your child has not been taken to anything by their school and feels they have missed out this is your opportunity.

Many families will be proudly accompanying their children who have the honour of representing their school at the city Final of the Booked Up Quiz being held at Coventry & Nth Warwickshire Cricket Club.The quiz was the  brilliant brainchild of Linda Collingwood, Committee stalwart and librarian at Finham Park SchoKevin Brooksol, in year 1 and has continued ever since. As well as being a lot of fun it also helps familiarise pupils in Year 6 with their new secondary school so that it is not such a scary move in September. Each secondary school taking part hosts heats for their feeder primaries to compete for a place in the final. Year 7 pupils at the secondary school are the ones who set the questions  to test the teams book knowledge and help run the quiz. It is a great opportunity to show off to their old primary schools! The celebrity hhayspgost and  quizmaster for the day is none other than Kevin Brooks! Once again the quiz is sponsored by the local office of Hays Education to whom we are very grateful

Meanwhile aspiring authors who want to be the next Kevin Brooks or Eoin Colfer have an opportunity to participate in a  FREE creative writing tutorial  on How to Write for Children from award – winning author  Ann Evans in Central Library. Anne had her ann evansfirst novel was published in 1995 and since then there have been another nine. She worked for 13 years at the Coventry Telegraph as a Feature Writer, writing specifically on food and drink, gardens, travel and pets. Her Pet SOS weekly feature won the RSPCA Media Award one year, and the regular animal news helped many homeless cats and dogs find new homes. She regularly runs writing courses and workshops at her Nuneaton studio, and for anyone further afield, has online courses. Budding writers may  also find herbook Become A Writer: A Step by Step Guide useful.

Young readers can have an hour of fun with Sam Hay, author of the screamingly funny Undead Pets series, at Waterstones from 11:00 am.Sam Hay began her career in newspapers and worked for BBC Television for ten years before publishing her first book for children in 2005. undead petsSince then many titles have followed including novels, non-fiction and educational titles for children of all ages. She’s currently writing twsam hayo fiction series for children age 8+ – Undead Pets  and Screaming Sands.  The first book in Sam’s Undead Pets series has been selected as part of the Government’s new ‘Read for My School’ literacy programme. As well as writing for children, Sam continues to freelance for parenting magazines. She also runs several book groups for primary school children, and is passionate about encouraging and improving literacy and creative writing for all.

Running from 12:00 until 2:00 pm there will be Local Voices, Local Lives a drop in session  in the Belgrade Theatre Foyer  run by Waterstones with some of our very best local authors who have written about Coventry. This is your chance to ask them the things you have always wanted to know about Coventry or just to find out more about them and their books.

Chris Arnot – author of Britain’s Lost Mines, Britain’s Lost Breweries, Fields of Dreams and Britain’s Lost Cricket Festivals
Chris Holland – author of Coventry and Warwickshire 1914-19, The Diary and Scrapbooks of Cordelia Leigh 1914-1919 and Before Gallipoli
David McGrory – author of Coventry Then and Now, Coventry at War, Bloody British History: Coventry and others
Pete Walters – author of Story of Coventry

Meanwhile there is more fun for little ones  in Central Library. Mat Head, author of the Warduff picture books about a very distinctive cat will be running a story and craft session from 1:mat headjpg30 until 2:30.

Mat Head has spent the last 15 years working as an art director in advertising. He lives in East Sussex with his partner and two young sons. He has always loved drawing, butalso spent a lot of his childhood outside kicking footballs into flowerbeds. Still a fan of the great outdoors, Mat and his family like to escape in their camper van whenever possible and visit beautiful, mystical places.

Warduff and the Corncob Caper was Mat’s first picture book anwarduffd in his latest adventure Warduff and the Pelican Pirates , Warduff is down at the harbour one day when he notices something amiss. The penguins have been plundered by a posse of pelican pirates and have returned from their fishing trip empty handed! Warduff must come up with a brilliant plan to outwit the pirates, or they might never eat fish again!

Then there is just time to nip over to the Festival Finale in the Begrade Theatre where we are very proud to present The Wimpy Kid Show at 3:00 p.m.The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has been a worldwide publishing sensation – in 2012 it was named Blue Peter’s best children’s boWimpyKidShow_Logook of the last 10 years, beating Harry Potter and Horrid Henry to the top spot. The Wimpy Kid Show event has been a sell-out at literature festivals around the country.
This is a new commercial departure for the Festival, but we wanted to bring big events to the city for our young people and families to enjoy together and the Wimpy Kid series of books has enticed more children to read than almost anything else. But it just would not have been possible without the support of the Belgrade Theatre to keep the costs down and it is fantastic to have them on board because they can provide  the perfect, convenient city centre venue.

The show is  really a must for all Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans and great family entertainment. Host Alastair Watson brings the books to life with fun activities including a Greg Heffley Draw-Along and The Wimp Wars! Quiz.wimpy_kid_show_large_crop_511d0fa45f4d5
The event also includes exclusive clips of author Jeff Kinney talking about the books, his involvement in the films and showing how he draws the characters.
All those who purchase a book on the day will be eligible for it to be stamped with an exclusive Wimpy Kid Show stamp. Suitable for anybody from 8 to 80. Tickets are selling fast.Remember the cheapest option for booking is online at http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/the-wimpy-kid-show

Then it will all be over for another year. Do please tell us what you think of the events. Comment on our blog, or on Facebook and Twitter

Day by Day – the stars of Thursday 26th June

You might be forgiven for thinking that Thursday looks a bit thin, but that is because a domestic crisis forced James Carter to move to Monday and because, while events are going on in secondary schools, primary schools are battling it out in their Dragonese Challenge at Warwick Arts Centre. Cressida Cowell won our very first Raring 2 Read Award with How to Speak Dragonese and the series has gone on to become an mazing best seller and the first film appeared- How to Train Your Dragon. School teams will be watching a special showing of that  flim before testing their knowledge of the books againts other school teams to win exciting prizes. Coventry Schools Library Service are once again setting the questions.

The first event of the day is with Natasha Desborough teen author and former radio DJ at Foxford School. Wierdos vs Quimboids and the sequel Wierdos vs Bumskulls are laugh-out-loud books ( warning – do not read in public)  about the trials and triumphs of teenagehood. Expect her session to cover:

Have you ever…?
Things that definitely qualify you as a weirdo, no matter what you think!
Embarrassing StoriesImage
After sharing embarrassing stories from Radio 1 DJs and other adults (even some participating teachers!) Natasha
encourages the audience to share theirs.
Character Workshops
helping students create their own characters using her methods and includes an exercise
where students make fun Q&A profiles for their characters.
The Importance of Music
After a Pop Quiz of songs that were central to writing the book, Natasha discusses how she used music to develop her
characters.
The Hardest Part
Discussing what was hardest about writing WEIRDOS VS QUIMBOIDS and then invites questions about writing
from the audience.

Another first for the Festival is collaboration with the University of Warwick. A workshop event called Music & Melodrama under Napoleon gives students a taste of life and learning at the University while  actually participating at the cutting edge of  active musicological and literary history research. This is a fantastic opportunity for students of English literature, French, History, Theatre Studies and Music in Year 11 and above who might be cosidering their options for University. There are two sessions available, led by Dr Katherine Astbury and Dr Katherine Hambridge, but they are limited to 20 participants so book early on Eventbrite.

The afternoon brings the first of the very special events to be held in Sidney Stringer Academy’s state of the art Theatre. Sidney Stringer have been a stalwart supporter of the Festival since day one and big name authors just love appearing there. We have three of them at once at the Graphics, Gadgets and Geeks Panel. This is a special event with top authors and self-confessed geeks Mark Walden, Steve Feasey and Rohan Gavin. Come along to find out why they are proud to be geeks, and how their love of games, gadgets and graphic novels inspires their writing.

Meet the Authors

Steve FeaseyImage grew up on a council estate in Hertfordshire and didn’t come to writing until he was in his thirties, finding great success with his Changling series. His new book, Mutant City, is about a world divided into the mutants and the pure, the broken and the privileged, the damaged and the perfect.
http://www.stevefeasey.com/

Rohan GavinImage is an author and screenwriter based in London. He is a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and his enduring love of detective fiction, cars and conspiracy theories inspired him to write this book, the first in a series. Rohan is the son of award-winning children’s author Jamila Gavin, and he recently became a father himself.
https://twitter.com/rohangavin

Coventry born Mark Walden’s first book, H.I.V.E., won Richard and Judy’s ‘Best Kids’ Books Ever’ 9+ category and PImagearamount has optioned the film rights. Mark has followed this success with a further six titles in the extraordinarily brilliant H.I.V.E. series. He lives with his family in Hampshire.
http://www.markwalden.net/blog/

 

Another local celebrity author Chris Arnot will be talking about the latest in his fascinating “Lost” series,Britain’s Lost CricketImage Festivals: The Idyllic Club Grounds that Will Never Again Host the World’s Best Players, in the Criterion bar. Chris Arnot is a national freelance feature writer who has written on specialist subjects including arts and education, property, pubs, food and travel. A regular contributor to the Guardian, he has also written for the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and the Observer. He co-wrote The Archers Archives for BBC Books and his book, Britain’s Lost Cricket Grounds, was long-listed for the MCC’s cricket book of the year in 2011. He is also the author of Britain’s Lost Breweries and Beers and Fields of Dreams: Grounds That Football Forgot But the Fans Never Will.