On November 9th 2013 the Federation of Children’s Book Groups held a one day Festival of Children’s Literature in Birmingham, to celebrate the FCBG’s 45th anniversary and our receipt of the Eleanor Farjeon Award last year.
Inspired by the venue in which the Festival took place, the Birmingham Conservatoire, the theme for the day was stories across the arts, exploring how children’s literature has fed into and off music, theatre, film and even puppetry!
We had a brilliant line up for the day!
James Mayhew, perhaps best known for his Katie and Ella Bella Ballerina books which explore fine art and ballet, ran a fascinating workshop aimed at children 10-14 years old, all about illustrating to live music (performed by musicians from the Conservatoire), using Benjamin Britten’s music for T. H. White’s King Arthur book, The Sword in the Stone.
Later in the day James gave a unique and magical concert celebrating Benjamin Britten’s centenary with a performance of his The Sword in the Stone, featuring live illustration and readings by James, musicians from the Conservatoire and workshop participants.
David Almond, winner of the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Carnegie Medal, and two Whitbread Awards, celebrated 15 years of Skellig, including exploring its adaptation for opera, theatre and film.
Clara Vulliamy, who has over 30 books to her name including the much loved Bear with the Sticky Paws and Lucky Wish Mouse, hosted an exciting mini puppet toy theatre workshop based on Bubble and Squeak, a book specially written for her to illustrate, by James Mayhew.
Michael Morpurgo, Children’s Laureate 2003-2005 and author of Private Peaceful and War Horse amongst many others, and Emma Chichester Clark, illustrator of more than 80 books, including Blue Kangaroo, and Melrose and Croc drew the day to a close with an engaging insight into their new collaboration, a retelling of Pinocchio.
During the day there was also the chance to meet all the authors and illustrators. There was free storytelling, the chance to vote for for your favourite of the Children’s Book Award shortlisted books, and of course the opportunity to buy books by all the authors and illustrators present on the day.
You can browse photos of the event here.