Favourite authors delight at Book Festival

Hundreds of young book enthusiasts shared their love of reading with their favourite authors when the Ormsgill Book Festival took place in Barrow this week.

Pupils from ten primary schools heard from leading children’s authors Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Jennifer Killick. They also took part in draw-a-long workshops with illustrator Fiona Woodcock and enjoyed tales from popular storyteller Dan Worsley.

The event, held at Ormsgill Primary School, is in its sixth year and has been organised by assistant headteacher Laura Reid.

Author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce shared stories of his own primary school days and impressed the pupils with magic before reading excerpts from his latest book The Wonder Brothers, set in Blackpool.

“Laura is a force of nature getting this organised and we are really excited to be here,” he said. “It’s important that the children know a book is created by people like them and that whole world is open to them.

“You need great words to be a great chef or a great surgeon or a great mum or dad, not necessarily just to be a writer,” he said.

Frank’s work is well-known to the pupils and he has amassed young fans across the world with 12 best-selling books as well as writing the only words the Queen ever acted in the Platinum Jubilee Paddington sketch.

“I want to bring a sense of fun and I hope it makes the pupils think that books and fun go together and they see books as something of a shared experience.”

Children’s novelist Jennifer Killick, who penned the Alex Sparrow books as well as junior horror including the DreadWood series, took the pupils on a journey through one of her books – Crater Lake.

She talked to the children about school trips as a setting for stories and challenged them to write their own adventures.

“Being an author is a wonderful job,” she told them. “I can write stories and make people feel happy or scared or all sorts of emotions.”

Pupils from schools in South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust were among those taking part in the festival.

Darcey from Year 5 at Newbarns Primary and Nursery School said it had definitely made her want to read more.

“This was one of the best experiences of my life and I couldn’t imagine meeting these authors in a million years,” she said.

Organiser Laura Reid said the authors had been keen to attend.

“We have been trying to get them for a few years but this time the dates all aligned and we are over the moon to welcome them,” she said.

“Frank is a national treasure and had the children enthralled with his storytelling and Jennifer brings some creepiness to her books, which they love.

“With Fiona and Dan completing the line-up we were able to offer workshops for all ages from reception right through to Year 6. It has been a packed day, we also had comic art sessions with Sim Leech who does the Comic Potential project.”

The event was supported bookseller Sam Read of Grasmere as well as by Barrow Town Council, TI Accountancy, accountants JF Hornby, BAE Systems and Nuclear Transport Solutions who donated from £500 to £2,500 for speakers.


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