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From London to Berwick: Culture shock? Oh, yes!

Literary Festival with a heart (2)

Engaging children and young people in the written and illustrated word has to be a key goal of any literary festival – after all, young people are the festival attendees of the future. Of course, it’s not always easy to lure youngsters along to events. That’s why the Berwick Literary Festival aims to meet children and young people where they are. This year’s schools programmes will do this in three key ways:

1. Primary Schools.

Workshops on Friday 21st October will be led by celebrated local author/illustrator/sketchbooker, Helen Stephens. Four local primary schools will attend morning and afternoon sessions with Helen in the town’s historic Guildhall. Helen will be aiming to enthuse, delight and inspire the children with reference to her latest book: How to find a Lion at School. *


2. Middle Schools & the Academy

The popular ‘illustrate a poem’ competition is also returning in 2016. Readings of Edward Lear’s The Jumblies will take place in the Academy and all local middle schools. Young people will be invited to submit their illustrations inspired by the poem and the winners will be displayed at the Guildhall. For the third year, the Rotary Club of Berwick-upon-Tweed will also be running its successful short story competition in schools around the area.

3. The Grove School

Newcastle-based Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books – will be leading a multi-sensory literary experience at Grove School, tailored specifically to the pupils at the school.

The overall aim of all three events is to ensure that all local young people, including those unlikely or unable to attend Festival events, will have the opportunity to get hands-on with words in ways that intrigue, inspire and entertain them.

*Helen Stephens will also be running a session open to all children on the morning of Saturday 22nd at 10am – tickets and more information are available for this event from the Maltings Theatre.

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2 thoughts on “Literary Festival with a heart (2)

  1. Hi Jackie, your blog hits the nail on the proverbial – get the children to discover how wide and diverse is the world of books and literature. The Stratford-upon-Avon LitFest in April has the exact same aims and and our events often take place long after the Festival itself is over. Our competition last year showed that many 8-11 year olds’ imaginations were firmly rooted in magic and fantasy but the 12-18s had a leaning towards dystopian worlds and quite dark narratives – clearly a reaction to the Twilight/GoT/Walking Dead themes (as well as the 24-hour broadcast news!) It would be lovely if we could turn this dark, negative view of their world around I think. Time for a new magnum opus Mrs KL?

    • That’s so interesting jennie. Children and young people are influenced by what they read so diversity is so important. Of course once they’ve become hooked on a particular series in a particular genre, it can be hard to move on for a while but the love of reading and discovering new worlds through it will usually lead them to experiment eventually. So important to show the pleasure of literature rather than it becoming just a tool of learning. X

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