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
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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

fest12 fest11 fest9 fest8 fest3 fest4 fest5 fest6 fest7 fest

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…

levi1 levi2

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!

aw1 aw2 aw3 aw4

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


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




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 Linda Collingwood

Our next committee member is Linda Colllingwood, Library Manager at Finham Park School.

“Coventry secondary school librarians are tremendously thankful we have such a proactive and supportive Schools Library Service, so when its head Joy Court asked us to attend a first meeting to discuss the inauguration of a new Coventry book festival, of course, we said yes.

Little did I know that several months later one or two of us would be experiencing just a few anxious moments and a couple of sleepless nights immediately prior to the start of a highly successful week of exciting book events which was Literally………Coventry  2012.  Continue reading