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

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 Friday 27th

A choice selection of events on Friday! There are two of the biggest names in children’s literature coming to our Sidney Stringer showcase theatre. A local hero, in every sense of the word, demonstrating his in depth knowledge of our city and a fantastic party for young readers to show we have not forgotten them!

So starting with the little ones, we have Captain Beastlie’s Pirate Party at Hollyfast Primary school with author Lucy Coats, who has a wonderful event planned with storytelling, sea-shanty-singing and learning to speak like a pirate! Captain Beastlie’s Pirate Party is wonderfully  illustrated by  Greenaway Medal shortlisted  illustrator Chris Mould. Lucy wlucy coatsorked as a children’s editor and bookseller before turning to full-time writing, and is the author of more than twenty-five titles for all ages, including Atticus the Storyteller’s 100 Greek Myths which was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. She lives in the countryside with her husband, two children, three lunatic dogs and ten thousand assorted books. She is also a regular blogger and tweets as @lucycoats. Her website is Lucy would (secretly) like to be a pirate captain and sail the seven seas, but her family will only allow her to let out her inner Skull and Crossbones when the moon is blue, or on every seventy-fourth Wednesday. This sometimes makes her grimsome and growly!

One of the things whch makes Literally Coventry Book Festival 2014 so special is that, in the build up to the Festival, we have been enjoying a special project courtesy of Macmillan Children’s Books. Literally Coventry Reads Kevin Brooks has seen every schThe-Ultimate-Truth-A-Travis-ool and public library being given free copies of The Ultimate Truth: a Travis Delaney Mysterykevin-brooks-2, the new book from the critically acclaimed and current Carnegie Medal shortlisted author. (In fact the announcement of the  2014 Carnegie Medal is on Monday June 23 and so Coventry is keeping everything firmly crossed for “our” author!) Unlike the Carnegie shortlisted novel The Bunker Diary, which is very definitely for older readers, The Ultimate Truth is the  perfect book for older primary and secondary students alike. It has great male and female protagonists and the tense and exciting plot will keep adults gripped too. It is one the whole family can enjoy. Kevin is making an extended visit to the city and the first event is at Sidney Stringer. A celebration of the Literally Coventry reads projet and a unique opportunity  for students who have read the book to have a dialogue with the author about the creative process and to ask “What happens next?”

Let’s hope that friday is a lovely sunny June day so we can make the most of Walking Backwards- a local history walking tour of the City centre in the company of Pete Walters, author of the The Story of Coventry. PeteWalters2 This beautifully illustrated  book traces the evolution of the city, from the myths of Godiva, through to the issues, challenges and opportunities facing it in the twenty-first century. Exploring Coventry’s heritage through records, architectural developments and anecdotes, it reveals a fascinating and much misunderstood city, whose history is often overshadowed by its bombing during the Second World War. Peter Walters, well known for his numerous newspaper features and active role in local heritage, shows that there is a great deal more to the history of Coventry than first meets the eye. The walk will conclude at Sovranos Cafe in the precinct where some well earned refreshment can be purchased and you can get signed copies of Pete’s book.

In the afternoon there is great excitement  at Sidney Stringer. We are very fortunate indeed to be a stop on the national tour of  author Eoin Colfer, who has recently been announced as the new Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature. Sales of Eoin Colfer’s bestselling Artemis Fowl series have Eoinsurpassed 20 million copies worldwide. Other best sellers include Half Moon Investigations, The Supernaturalist, Airman and The Legend of ….. books. His brilliant new series WARP is out now. W.A.R.P. The Reluctant Assassin was the first thrilling book in his steam-punk, time-travel, adrenalin-fuelled adventure series. A brilliant combination of action, adventure, Colfer’s trademark wit, and a villain to die for, the W.A.R.P. series is Oliver Twist meets The Matrix. Buckle your seatbelt, sit back and enjoy the ride. Two actors will be accompanying Eoin and they will interject during the session, helping to bring the wold of W.A.R.P to life and will take the parts of various characters from WARP. It will be a highly interactive event and they will really get the children involved in the action, bringing some children up on stage to help perform Victorian magic tricks. For more information on Eoin go to his website at

Kevin Brooks  also has an extra special engagement on Friday evening! The centre of the mystery at the heart of The Ultimate Truth is a boxing club and it is an amazing young (female)boxer who teams up with Travis to solve the mystery.  The young members of Christ the King Boxing Club have also been reading the book. They are laying on a boxing exhibition for Kevin and their families and then they have the chance to  tell Kevin if he has got the boxing club details right! A brave author indeed!

We hope they are gentle with him because he has a busy day on Saturday too!