The theatre space in the big festival tent was top-notch and it quickly filled with eager schoolchildren ready to talk books and draw with us. Here's a photo tweeted by Bishop Gilpin Primary School in Merton @BishopGilpinPS, where we're taking suggestions from the audience:
One of the amazing things about Wimbledon BookFest is that they got the sponsorship to give EVERY CHILD A BOOK! When you've spent an hour getting kids excited to read a story you've created, it's wonderful to know that they'll be able to go away and read it straight away. And it was wonderful getting to connect briefly with hundreds of children individually, to give them a book signed and dedicated specially to them. Here are a couple photos tweeted by Hall School Wimbledon @HswJunior:
Getting people drawing is a huge part of what we do at events; it pulls everyone in and gives them confidence that they can create a storybook character, and a structure that they can adapt to create different characters of their own. This time I taught them how to draw Cardigan Faun, one of the mythical creatures featured in our second Roly-Poly Flying Pony book, Kevin's Great Escape. (We have this and more free drawing tutorials on my website.) Aren't these great?! I love how they're all very competently drawn, but also each faun has its own fun personality.
In the afternoon, I stuck around to watch Philip talk about his illustration and then writing career to students from local secondary schools. Look at the festival's great attention to detail with this customised sign! And stacks of books! (This kind of real support is so incredibly important to children but ALSO authors!)
Here's Philip talking about his latest Railhead trilogy, including showing off artwork by artists such as his cover artist Ian McQue, and here you can see some extra train art commissioned from Rob Turpin.
Huge thanks to Julian Butler, who gave us trememdous introductions and got the kids excited before we even got on stage, and Marina Vokos, Fiona Razvi, Siobhan May and their brilliant team who made everything run so smoothly! And to all the schools who came along, and publicist Liz Scott, who helped coordinate everything for us. This is one of our best-ever festivals; we were thrilled to be there and we'd love to come back!