A new book festival aimed at inspiring local primary school children about the joy of reading and creative writing has taken place in Penzance this week. The West Cornwall Primary Schools Book Festival saw 120 pupils aged 8 to 11 years drawn from nine local schools, spend a day attending workshops at Penwith College. The event featured three successful children’s authors; Natasha Farrant, Ross Montgomery and Martin Brown who hosted engaging workshops for those attending. Martin Brown is a celebrated illustrator of the hugely successful Horrible Histories series. He has also written and illustrated the Lesser Spotted Animals series of books, and most recently the charming Nell and the Cave Bear. Natasha Farrant is the author of the Costa Award-winning novel, Voyage of the Sparrowhawk, which was chosen as the Times and Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Year. She has also written the bestselling book, The Children of Castle Rock. Ross Montgomery has written many books including The Midnight Guardians, selected as the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book of the Year Award, and chosen as one of The Guardian’s Children’s Books of the Year. The festival was staged by Endelienta Arts who organise the popular North Cornwall Book Festival at St Endellion. Funding was provided by the St Aubyn Foundation.
Patrick Gale, Festival Artistic Director, said: “The North Cornwall Book Festival has been running workshops for schools from its base at St Endellion for the last eleven years. They provide an invaluable opportunity for children to meet authors and be inspired by them in both their writing and reading. We are delighted to now offer the same opportunity to schools in West Cornwall thanks to the generous support of the St Aubyn Foundation.”
Mary St Levan, St Aubyn Foundation, said: “We wanted to ensure that there was an opportunity for more children to be inspired by these wonderful workshops by authors and illustrators they’ll know and love. We hope they will continue enjoying these events in the future, fuelling a passion for books that will last a lifetime.”
This year’s festival was also supported by Seasalt Cornwall which provided each child with a book voucher to exchange at mini bookshops at the event run by The Edge of the World Bookshop in Penzance to enable every child to go home with a free book at the end of the day.
Ludgvan school children enjoying their books.
Left to right – Martin Brown, Lord St Levan, Ross Montgomery and Natasha Farrant.