New 2010 festival site

With things now moving on at super-fast speed, you can now see what’s going on at this year’s festival over on our brand new Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival site.

It’s excitingly orange, and there’s all sorts of new features, such as interviews. So go on over there now and have a look!


The 2010 festival is go!

A little bit of updating of the logo and information is required, but other than that, the big news is that 2010’s festival is stirring into life. We’re holding it a bit later in the year this time, on Saturday October 23rd to be precise. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is to allow me (that’s Alex Milway) time to write/illustrate books, be a dad for the first time, and plan the line-up properly.

I have a little bit of rather brilliant help this year, and I’ll talk more about who that is later. Suffice to say, the festival will be bigger and better than last year, with some amazing writers and illustrators taking part.

So put it in your diaries now. It’s a day you won’t want to miss.

What a day!


What can I say? After five months of planning and a frantic final week, the book festival came and went and was a resounding success.

The art and writing workshops in the library were fully booked, with children drawing some brilliant monsters and comics. One of the visitors has already posted their creations online here, and if you want to see what a Ninja Pie looks like, click that link now!

Fiona, Katie, Kathryn, Ben, Emily and all the staff at the library did a fantastic job of managing it all, so thanks goes out to them. And of course, all the artists and writers who ran the workshops deserve a special thank you. Tom Percival, Salvatore Rubbino, Sarah Horne, Alexander Gordon Smith, Emma Vieceli, Kate Brown, Viv Schwarz, Garen Ewing, David O’Connell, Gary Northfield, Paul Duffield and Sarah McIntyre. We’ve already received a lot of excellent feedback and it would seem that all the people taking part had a thoroughly great time.

palace festival readers

Of course, we also had readings throughout the day in the Bookseller Crow, and it was lovely to see the effect that a writer reading aloud can have on a group. Everyone was uniformly excellent, and I learnt such a lot from watching these talented folk. Sue Eves started the day with her terrific puppet Woofy, who had us all laughing. She was followed by Viv Schwarz, Guy Bass and Sarah Horne.

The afternoon started off with me and a Dum Dum Mouse, and continued with the excellent Sam Enthoven, Alexander Gordon Smith and Sarwat Chadda, who closed the proceedings in fine form.

The best part of the day for me was seeing children watch a number of authors who they didn’t know, and ultimately buy their books at the end. I’d always hoped that people might hang around, see something new and like it, and they did. That was the atmosphere I’d always wanted to create, and with the help of Jon and Justine at the bookshop – and of course, James with his double deck of Gramophones – I think we pulled it off.

jamesAnd last but not least, there was the exhibition in Smash Bang Wallop. Thanks to Andy and Liz for their help. The exhibition initially set me going on this festival adventure and without that I’d never have done a thing. It was a joy seeing such great artwork all together.

With all the support of the publishers – Faber & Faber, Walker Books, Puffin, and of course Stripes, who really got into the spirit of things – it was a truly great day to remember. Roll on next year!

Sam Enthoven joins the line-up!

blacktatpb A last minute announcement is that Sam Enthoven will be joining the afternoon line-up. There was just enough space to squeeze in the author of the Black Tattoo and the brilliant TIM Defender of the Earth.

So come hear him talk in the Bookseller Crow bookshop after Alex Milway at about 2.20pm. We’ll do our best to keep to schedule, but you never know what other exciting events might crop up! Be prepared for a few surprises along the way.

The Children’s Book Festival is in the press again!

Algernon in his diving suit, by Alex Milway

Algernon in his diving suit, by Alex Milway

We got a lovely write up in News Shopper the other day, including loads of great pictures from all the talented artists taking part in the workshops and exhibition. Alex was on hand as always to offer some pithy quotes, including:

You can come along and take part and actually make something yourself, or you can go to the bookshop where every half hour there’ll be an author reading.

It’s more like going to a music festival. You can stand in front of a stage and watch people you might not have heard of. You’ll get the chance to experience new things.

Read the full article and interview on the News Shopper website.

Viviane Schwarz's many cats

Viviane Schwarz's many cats

The excellent Puffin children’s blog gave a plug to the festival as well, giving a special mention to their very own Sarwat Chadda. He’s one of their brand new writers, and we’re being given a sneak preview of his first book, The Devil’s Kiss, before it even officially hits the shops.

Make sure you don’t miss the chance to meet Puffin’s next big literary star! We’re very lucky they let us have him! Sarwat will be doing an exclusive reading from his book over at the Bookseller Crow at 3.20pm. Find out more about the schedule of readings here.

Alex Milway interviewed in the Bookseller!

The Bookseller interview Alex the other day about the Children’s Book Festival. Here’s what he had to say for himself:

It’s very easy for us writers to sit back and expect the world to come to us. I wanted to see what might happen if we got did something like this for ourselves. Why wait to be asked to take part in a festival or event, when you can set one up for yourself?

We quite agree!

[The Bookseller]

Alexander Gordon Smith in The Times

furnacelockdownIf you haven’t yet signed up for Alexander Gordon Smith’s Horror Workshop, now’s the time to do it – before all the places are gone! He’s just been reviewed in The Times! The writer had this to say about his latest book – Furnace: Lockdown:

Fears of imprisonment are a strong strain for older readers, and Alexander Gordon Smith’s Furnace: Lockdown (Faber & Faber, £6.99), a prison “where death is the least of your worries”, is an adrenalin-packed thriller for teens that grumpy boys will gulp down as escapism.

The latest Skullduggery Pleasant book – The Faceless Ones – by Derek Landy (HarperCollins) also got a nice review (it’s “fast and funny” apparently).

If you’d like to meet the illustrator of those excellent Skullduggery covers, Tom Percival will be running the Zombie Drawing Workshop – and his artwork will also be on display in our Exhibition, which is running from Friday 24th April – Sunday 26th April at Smash Bang Wallop

You can read the full article here.

Don’t forget to check out all the other excellent workshops on offer!