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 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

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



Wednesday 25th June – The Inspiration Awards at the heart of the Festival

With apologies – Wednesday was posted but disappeared?? Rest assured it is anything but an empty day!

Our Festival grew out of the very successful Coventry Inspiration Book Awards Imagewhich have been running for 8 years. The idea being that potentially we could have 12 top authors coming to Coventry to collect their awards at a glittering ceremony in St Mary’s Hall. The hall is a magnificent and impressive showcase for our City but can only accommodate a smallish audience and so it was a shame that all their fans did not get to meet them. So doing Festival events while in town seemed like a good idea. The Festival just spread out to include the whole week!

This exciting day kicks off with Dirtie Bertie no less visiting All Souls Primary in the company of author Alan McDonald.After several years acting and directing in a travellinImageg theatre company, he turned full time to writing in 1990 since when he has published over sixty books for children. He is best known for his humorous fiction for the seven to ten age group and Dirtie Bertie celebrated his 10 year anniversary in 2013. About the same time that we began to hear about his arch rival Angela Nicely ( don’t let the name fool you!) Alan will also be talking about his latest book Superhero School.

A fascinating debut author Jamie Buxton is coming to Christ The King.Jamie read English at Cambridge and has been writing all his adult life. He has also travelled extensively in the middle east, which is what inspired Temple Boys as a new way of telling the most famous story ever told. He had to go beyond the sights, sounds and smells of old Jerusalem to try and understand what an orImagedinary boy would do if he came across a man who said he could save the world. This adventure set on the streets of Jerusalem in AD33 is a new and original take on the days leading up to the crucifixion. Given the subject matter of the story, it would lend itself really well to discussion and debate. In hisevent, Jamie will talk about the fascinating historical background to Temple Boys, introduce themes and characters, and talk about using the past as inspiration for making stories. With lively q & a sessions all the way through, quick quizzes and readings from the book this promises to be an inspiring event for older readers.

Great Brtish Bake Off fans have a treat in store at Heart Of England School- our first Warwickshire Festival Friend and very welcome they are too! Love,Lies and Lemon Pies, the new teen novel from Katy Cannon

Very appropriately, the main characters of this book – Lottie and Mac – came to me while eating cake with Imagemy agent, Gemma Cooper, Gemma said: “You love baking. How about a book with baking in it?” And I said, “Maybe a school Bake Club?” and we were away.

For the next few months, as I worked on the story, that was what we called it. I tried out recipes, pitted my characters against each other, and uncovered all their secrets. Until, one day, I knew Bake Club was about a lot more than just a club for wannabe bakers. It was about love and lies – and friends and trusting people and coming clean and being afraid – as well as about baking lemon pies for a national baking competition.

Ps Mac is a boy because – guess what – boys bake too!

For older teens and adults we have a very exciting pre-release showing of the new film The Knife that Killed Me taken from the book of the same name by award winning author Anthony ImageMcGowan at Warwick Arts Centre. The film wil be introduced by the Director Marcus Romer and afterwards Anthony will discuss and answer questions about the terribly topical theme of his book. He visited Coventry when the book was first published and spoke about his own school days and the fact that he based the book upon his own experiences. Astonishingly this was the very same school where the teacher, Anne McGuire, was recently murdered. She was his form teacher in Year 7. He wrote this article in The Telegraph This is a real must see event for film fans as well as anybody concerned with the pressures on teenagers today.

The first Inspiration Award winning author will be the popular Guy Bass talking about his winning book Stitch Head which has spawned a best selling series and won the Raring 2 Read award and also his new book and great new character in the Legend of Frog. 

Prince Frog is convinced he’s destined to rule the world …the trouble is, the world has ended. Undeterred, FrImageog sets out to claim his crown, armed with nothing more than a pair of Catastrophe Pants and his trusty stick, Basil Rathbone. But Frog soon realizes that the world isn’t quite as ended as he thought. He discovers a magical kingdom, filled with wild landscapes, strange creatures …and a princess sitting on his throne.

For adult fans and for anybody who ever wondered if they would enjoy being part of a reading rgoup we have a real treat for you at lunchtime. Iain Broome, the winner of the Word of Mouth Award will be in Central Library. Their reading groupmeets on a wednesday from 12:30 – 2:00 and they have thrown opn their doors to welcome other readinggroups and anybody who wants to give it a try. Iain will be talking about his winning novel A is for Angelica

‘A first novel that confidently moves from dark comedy iain_about1that’s genuinely funny to even darker despair that grows from moving to harrowing… really impressive’ The Daily Mail

Multi award winning author Nigel Hinton will be at Ernesford Grange in the afternoon. He won the Quick Reads Fancy a Quickie Award with Partner in Crime published by Barrington Stoke, who specialise in books for reluctant and struggling readers. Nigel Hinton’s work is used widely in schools, and Buddy has been one of the best selling novels nigel hintonfor teenagers in the last twenty five years. Teachers particularly appreciate his novels because they appeal to a wide range of pupil ability and are even enjoyed by teenage boys who don’t usually like reading. His great style is deceptively simple, disguising the craft which has gone into creating such complex and interesting characters and plots written in seemingly effortless, accessible and direct prose.

Meanwhile,at the other end of the spectrum we have author Abie Longstaff and illustrator Lauren Beard who won the Never Too Young award for our very youngest readers. They will be at KabieLongstafferesley Grange School.Their winning book The Mummy Shop is a laugh-out-loud tale of one boy’s quest to find the perfect mummy.. Does your mummy tell you off for jumping on your bed? Does she make you eat vegetables when you don’t want to? Then call The Mummy Shop, and we will help you find the perfect new mummy. 100% satisfaction guaranteed! When a little boy grows tired of his mummy, he calls The Mummy Shop for help. But after a number of mishaps and misunderstandings, he starts to think he may have made a big mistake…

At St Gregory’s we have critically acclaimed debut author Anne Booth with Girl with a White Dog.’A clear and compassionate plea for tolerance‘  says theanne booth jpg Sunday Times. In this thought provoking and moving novel we meet Jessie who is excited when her gran gets a white Alsatian puppy, but with Snowy’s arrival a mystery starts to unfold. As Jessie learns about Nazi Germany at school, past and present begin to slot together and she uncovers something long-buried, troubling and somehow linked to another girl and another white dog….‘I want Girl with a White Dog to free children from fear, and one of the most pernicious fears there is, is fear of ‘the other’, so prevalent in our media today.

The KS1 choice for the What’s The Story award went to Gemma Meringemma-merino-1007103o for the hilarious and quirky The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water. Everybody knows that crocodiles love water, but this little crocodile is different. He doesn’t like water at all. In fact, he prefers climbing trees! But it can be lonely when you’re the odd one out, so the little crocodile tries his best to change. But being wet isn’t for everyone – and a shiver soon becomes a cold and the cold becomes a sneeze, a very hot sneeze…! Gemma won the prestigious Macmillan Prize for Children’s Illustration in 2011, whilst studying for her MA in Children’s Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. Born in Catalonia, Gemma originally studied architecture in Barcelona and has worked in practices in Spain, Dublin, Tel Aviv and now London, where she lives.

The Simply The Book award for 14+ readers is often the most fiercely contested of them all and  the winner Monkey Wars by Richard Kurti was also longlisted for the Carnegie medal -not bad for a debut novel! After graduating,Richard worked at the BBC  on everything from Blue Peter to the Barcelona Olympics. In the meantime, he started directing short films and documentaries, and this led on to scriptwriting… which soon turned into a full time job.He has written screenplays for Hollywood studios, as well as TV shows like Robin Hood, Primeval and Sinbad. He will be appearing at Tile Hill Wood School

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to writ016.richard_kurtie a novel; one day I decided to stop dreaming and start doing something about it. Because I had to fit the novel in around my screenwriting, I started getting up an hour earlier every day… I bought a tiny laptop that stayed with me all the time, so that every spare minute could be used for writing … three years later Monkey Wars was finished.

To find out more about this stunning, uniquely different book see

Other award winners attending the ceremony in St Mary’s Hall are Gillian Cross who won the KS3 Read It Or Else Award with After Tomorrow and the Alternative Realities winner Jonathan Howard with Johannes Cabal the Necromancer and finally Anne Zoroudi who won the Murder Mystery & Mayhem award with Bull of Mithros.

All of the winning books have the backing of thousands of people who voted so well worth checking out form your local library and Waterstones in Smithford Way will have copies of them all  for sale.

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




Introducing Author Iain Broome

On the 1st August 2012 Iain’s first novel A is for Angelica hit the virtual bookstores and I downloaded my copy onto my lovely new kindle to take to Alaska.  Iain wrote a blog about his dream and I thought you might be interested in the inner turmoil of being something but wanting something else, maybe there’s a moral there…don’t judge a book by the cover.  Although the cover of A is for Angelica is rather splendid!  So, how did Iain become a writer?


‘I played my first competitive, 11-a-side football match when I was seven years old. It was on a full-size pitch and my team needed special permission from the league, because the minimum age was eight. The age limit was there for my safety, but I didn’t care because I was big and tall and really good at football.

Many kids have trials with professional clubs and some stay with the team for a couple of years. I played for Notts County until I was 16. I was team captain three out of the seven years I was there. I won trophies. I travelled the country. It was both a pre- and post-pubescent sporting career.

But something happened in that final year. When asked about it, I’ve sometimes said that the problem was that I’d become more interested, like most teenagers, in girls and underage drinking. But that was never the truth.

The real problem was that I was supposed to be a professional footballer, but being a professional footballer was not what I wanted to be.

Then, on one blustery Nottingham evening after training, I was taken to one side, along with my Dad, and told that, unfortunately, I wasn’t going to make it.

It was hard to hear. But also a blessed relief.

By no chance or coincidence, roughly a year before I left Notts County, I wrote my first batch of poetry. It was nothing special, and it was part of my regular schoolwork, but the feedback I received lit something inside me.

A new, entirely different dream began to emerge. I wanted to be a published author.

It’s about creating a world, having something to say, and telling a story. It’s making people laugh. Making people cry.

And that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To move people by creating something that no one else has ever created and by putting words in an order that no one has or ever will again. That’s the crux of all of it.

I was supposed to be a footballer. But I’m not, I’m an author.’

For Iain’s full blog please go to

To follow him on Twitter

Or visit his author page on facebook

And what did I think?  It’s a well written book, with a fast pace and short chapters that keep you turning the pages even when you know you should be doing something else.  Some of you know that Stroke has affected my family last 12 months and I found the portrayal of being a carer to a loved one who has suffered a Stroke both acurate and sensitive and yes, quite emotional at times.  It had a subtle dark humour that I rather enjoyed.  You never do really know what is going on behind those closed doors of your rather nice suburban street…

Read it, you won’t be disappointed.  Iain will be speaking about A is for Angelica at the newly refurbished Central Library as part of Literally Coventry Book Festival.

Charlotte Reed, Literally Committee Member