Newark Book Festival is busy dusting off its pages and stretching its spines getting ready to celebrate writing in all its forms when imaginative tales, personal stories and marvellous music will spill out of books and across the town’s streets.
From July 7th to 10th, readers are being invited to meet authors, hone their own storytelling skills and let their imaginations soar. There are events for all ages but younger bookworms are certainly never far from the heart of the annual festival.
“Children’s literature is so imaginative and can also be the gateway to shared experience,” says festival director Sara Bullimore. “We love to encourage younger readers to celebrate everything to do with books and reading – first and foremost it’s great fun but it also highlights important educational skills (and it’s a good way to ensure future festival goers too!) It’s also really lovely for adults at the same time to see the power of the imagination ignited in their children and to remember the tales that have stayed with them since they were little and being read bedtime stories to themselves.”
Primary, specialist and secondary schools across the Newark, Sherwood and neighbouring communities are playing host to visiting authors including Gareth Baker, Jessica Bowers, Gareth Peters, Harry Heape, Katherine Hetzel, Matt Beighton, Jonathan Emmett and Chris White.
“We’re also welcoming back The Young Journalist Academy which is designed to encourage young people to engage with news and current affairs by creating their own articles, films, podcasts and photographic projects,” Sara explains.
But, whether or not their children’s school have seized the opportunity to take part, parents can also bring their little ones along to enjoy a range of experiences too.
Preschoolers are invited to join author Jonathan Emmett at the Beanblock Café on the Friday afternoon (July 8th) to discover the amazing inhabitants of Alphabet Street.
And Emmett is back to help get the weekend festivities underway introducing his latest title, The Book Family Robinson, to Newark Library visitors on the Saturday (July 9th). The Beaumond Gardens venue will also be introducing this year’s Summer Reading Challenge which has a Gadgeteers theme for 2002 and hosting crafts with author Addy Farmer. Elsewhere in the town Under the Bed Theatre will be performing outdoor storytimes at St Mary Magdelene Church, Special Delivery puppet theatre will take place in the Market Place and mini readers are invited to dress as their favourite book characters to take a riverboat cruise on the Trent with storyteller Gareth Baker.
And what better backdrop can there be to host children’s literature events than Newark’s own fairytale castle? The 12th century monument will become the site for the festival’s Storyland on the Sunday (July 10th) where lots of free family fun can be found. Readings from authors including Gareth Baker and Vicky Kuhn, The Faraway Tree craft workshops with Nottinghamshire artist Kerry O’Brien, family yoga sessions, two trails and the chance to compete at Ferdle – a real world version of the virtual Wordle – will all be taking place in front of the historic stone walls.
“We’re also pleased to launch our Arts Award activities for 2022, supported by The Mighty Creatives,” says Sara. “Pick up your activity log books from the Castle Festival Stall to get your very own Discover Arts Award”.
And everyone is invited to visit 12ft tall George the Dragon and have a go at operating his handles – but the festival team are keeping him well away from what remains of the castle walls and showing him off in the Market Place instead where festival goers will also be able to find more children’s books to buy at the Literature Village.
But if it’s smaller four-legged creature fun you’d prefer then don’t miss the dogtastic detective escapades on offer from Indiana Bones and the Lost Library author Harry Heape just around the corner at the Tudor Hall. Will they find the Avenger’s lost treasure or will the slippery Serpent or stinky Ringo thwart their every move? You’ll have to book your tickets to find out!
For more information visit the festival website at www.newarkbookfestival.org.uk and don’t forget to follow its unfolding story on social media @newarkbookfest and #NewarkBF for news of extra events, pop ups and surprises.
Tickets are available from the Newark Palace Theatre. Call 01636 655755 or visit www.palacenewarktickets.com to book.