Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Literary bosses hope to create children's event

A NEW children’s literary festival could be launched next year.

It would last for nine days during the October half-term school holidays.

The event would be run by the organisers of the annual Henley Literary Festival.

TAKE FIVE: Find out what others think of the plan for a Children's Literary Festival.

Harriet Ryan-Reed, events director, told the Henley Standard that there is a need for a stand-alone event for children.

She said: “We feel that there is a demand for a separate children’s festival and also it is important to get children reading.

“For this year’s main literary festival we have increased our children’s events from six last year to 26 this year to test the water.

“The plan would be, if the events were a success, to have a stand-alone nine-day festival in the October half term of 2015.”

Most of the children’s events this year will be held at the River and Rowing Museum, off Mill Meadows, with further activities for youngsters at the Rainbow Children’s Centre at the d:two centre in Upper Market Place.

Mrs Ryan-Reed added: “We are really happy to be working with the community and the children’s centre. Our children’s events’ programme is supported by Invesco Perpetual’s community fund. ”

About 100 supporters attended a launch party for this year’s literary festival at Hotel du Vin on Monday last week.

Guests included authors Nick Townsend, journalist Lucy Cavendish, former rugby player Nigel Starmer-Smith, Lord and Lady Camoys and former mayor Stefan Gawrysiak.

Festival director Sue Ryan said politics will feature strongly in the programme.

She said: “There will be a lot of politics — it is during the conference period which will be the last before the next general election but it is a very strong and broad programme, interesting and very well put together with good venue partners.”

Mrs Ryan added: “I think the river readings will be the strongest we have ever had and will feature poetry from the First World War.”

Meanwhile, more names have been added to the festival line-up of more than 100 events.

Emma Bridgewater, the founder of the eponymous design brand, will discuss her memoir while Charles Spencer, who famously took on the royal family in the eulogy for his sister Princess Diana, will talk about his upcoming book, Killers of the King, which looks at the men who executed Charles I.

Film critic Mark Kermode will talk about his favourite and least favourite movies while music writer Mark Ellen discusses Rock Stars Stole My Life!, which covers everything from playing in a student band with former prime minister Tony Blair to an interesting press trip with pop star Rihanna.

Festival regular Jojo Moyes returns with her latest bestseller The One Plus One while Dame Harriet Walter makes an appearance to mark 450 years of Shakespeare. Hugh Pym, the chief economics correspondent for the BBC, will discuss the financial crisis with Kwasi Kwarteng MP and entrepreneur Margaret Hefferman.

Former foreign secretary and SDP leader David Owen makes his debut at Henley and joins previously confirmed authors, including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Jenny Colgan, Paddy Ashdown and Sir Roger Bannister.

Events will take place at Henley town hall for the first time since 2011 and will also be held on board the Hibernia boat and at regular venues the Christ Church Centre and the Kenton Theatre.

The festival, which is sponsored by Laithwaite’s Wine, runs from September 29 to October 5. A marquee will be erected in Falaise Square during the opening weekend to house a box office and children’s events.

Tickets will go on general sale to “Friends” of the festival from July 15 and on general sale from July 28. For more information, visit www.henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk or call (01491) 575948.

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