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’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.