GIANTS of children’s literature will descend on Manchester this year to celebrate the North’s largest children’s book festival.
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy unveiled the full programme for the festival at a noon launch event at New Charter Academy, Ashton-u-Lyne, on Monday, February 20.
On the guest-list will be best-selling writers Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials, The Golden Compass) Cathy Cassidy (Daizy Star series), Tracy Beaker creator Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen, author of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’.
The 2012 Manchester Children’s Book Festival – a biennial celebration of reading
– will be eleven days of fun, events and activities to inspire children to read. It runs from June 28 – July 8 at the University and at theatres, libraries, galleries and museums across the city.
Carol Ann, who is hosting the festival on behalf of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), said: “Since I became a mother, I’ve found myself writing more and more for children, so, when I was appointed Poet Laureate, it felt natural that my first major event should be a children’s book festival.
“We staged a four-day pilot in 2010 and I was delighted with the response. The 2012 Festival is even bigger and better – truly a festival for the city.
“Books are a vital part of children’s lives, as children need places where they can dream and fantasise, be Harry Potter, or Tracy Beaker. They need to be let their imagination run free without fear just as much they need to play football or dance.”
The Poet Laureate, who is also creative director of the Writing School at MMU was joined by university vice-chancellor Professor John Brooks at the event which saw the launch of the festival website www.mcbf.org.uk and festival brochure.
Around 150 children from six primary schools in Tameside visited the Academy to listen to Carol Ann reading her fairytale ‘The Princess’ Blankets’ with music from John Sampson.
Professor Brooks said: “The festival this year is bigger and better with 75 different activities and a great opportunity for children to meet their favourite authors.
“As a University, we are committed to investing in the next generation and it is our belief that books and a love of books underpin a good education.”
Paul Jacques, New Charter Academy Director said: “We’re thrilled to be chosen as the venue for the festival launch and just having moved into a new £40m campus, our building is the perfect host for such a prestigious event.
“The city can now look forward to 10 or eleven days in the summer when everyone will be getting involved in reading.”
Carol Ann told the assembled children aged 10-17: “We are lucky to have famous writers but this is not about poets or authors, books are not just for writers but for everyone no matter where your interests lie or your career may take you. Access to books is an enrichment to any life.”
“Manchester Children’s Book Festival runs from June 28 – July 8 and features, among others, Philip Pullman, Cathy Cassidy, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Andy Cope (and Lara), Kate Fox, Adele Geras, Mary Hoffman, Liz Kessler, Justin Somper, Jackie Kay and Ian McMillan.
February 22nd, 2012 - 09:35am