Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2018 : Family Day

Monday 7th May

Monday 7th May - Family Day

Bank Holiday Monday sees an array of events for all the family, including discussions on the future of science and AI, politics and post-truth, plus a festival exclusive with the launch of Kate Mosse’s new historical trilogy. Little ones can meet lovable bear Hugless Douglas and Lauren Child, creator of Charlie and Lola, the second Children’s Laureate to appear at Chiddingstone.  We have a musical puppetry performance of a classic Romanian fairy-tale, Early Man model-making with Aardman Animations, story writing workshops and much more.

T H E    O R A N G E R Y

Pericles Theatre Company and Atelier Community Theatre

The Promise of Everlasting Youth

Performance 1: 10.30 - 11.15am

Performance 2: 2.15 - 3.00pm

Suitable for all ages

The Orangery

Everlasting youth…is it a reality or a myth, a dream or a nightmare? Be careful what you wish for! We have two performances of one of the greatest fairy-stories ever told, suitable for all the family. The Promise of Everlasting Youth is an old Romanian tale, brought vividly to life by festival favourites Pericles Theatre Company and Atelier Community Theatre, with handmade masks, puppetry and music. Narration and music by Gregers Brinch, directed by Vasile Nedelcu.

Sponsored by Riverford Organics

Riverford delivers seasonal, 100% organic veg boxes fresh from our farm to your doorstep.  Call Sally on 01892 576 991 to find out more.

C A S T L E    M A R Q U E E

Aardman Animations

Early Man Modelling Workshop        

Workshop 1: Make Your Own Hognob : 10.30-11.30am

Workshop 2 : Make Your Own Sabre Tooth Rabbit : 11.45-12.45pm

Workshop 3 : Make Your Own Hognob : 2.15-3.15pm


Castle Marquee

Suitable for ages 6+

Aardman Animations, creators of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Shaun the Sheep, are giving you the chance to learn how to make your very own Early Man character at these fun, hands-on clay modelling workshops. Lead by one of their expert model makers, you’ll get the opportunity to ask questions about the tricks of the trade from the Aardman studio. Learn how to make your own Hognob character from scratch to take home with you, and get top tips from an Aardman model maker about the animation techniques used in Aardman’s award-winning titles.

Sponsored by the family of Paddy Cooke

T H E    S T R E A T F E I L D    R O O M

Story Makers

Creative Writing and Storytelling Workshops

Workshop 1: 11.00 - 12.30pm :  Please note this starts at 11.00 not 11.30 as stated in the printed ‘Programme at a Glance’

Workshop 2: 3.00 - 4.30pm : Please note that this ends at 4.30 not 4.00 as stated in the printed ‘Programme at a Glance’

The Streatfeild Room


Suitable for ages 8 - 11 years old

Story Makers is a workshop for children to explore their creativity and nurture their love of stories.  During a Story Makers Creative Writing and Storytelling workshop you will discover authors new and old, and read, create and share stories.  With activities designed to ignite and inspire your imagination who knows what adventures you can create?  This workshop will help you find inspiration for your own stories by reading books, writing prompts, from your own lives, and the world around us.  Stories surround us all the time, they are just waiting to be told in your own unique way.

Sponsored by Beanstalk

Beanstalk is a national charity that recruits and supports volunteers to work with children 3 - 13yrs who are struggling with their reading.

C O N S U L T U S    M A R Q U E E    ( M A I N    M A R Q U E E)

David Melling and Hugless Douglas

11.45 - 12.30pm


Suitable for all ages

Consultus Marquee

Meet the bestselling huggable bear, Hugless Douglas and his creator David Melling. David’s adorable Hugless Douglas books have sold over a million copies and have been published in 26 languages. He’s been a number 1 chart topper with his World Book Day title, Hello, Hugless Douglas! In this interactive event, hear about David’s drawing techniques, learn to draw Douglas step-by-step, listen to some storytelling and even get a hug from Douglas himself!

Sponsored by Chiddingstone Parish Council

The Parish Council represents the interests of local residents with outside bodies such as District and County Councils, particularly in such areas as planning, highways, local services and any other matters that concern residents. The Council is there to assist and encourage local organisations to develop for the benefit of the community.

Rachel Sellers reads the Winners of the Short Story Competition

12.30  - 12.45pm

Free with a ticket to the Festival

Consultus Marquee

Voiceover artist Rachel Sellers will present the prizes and read out the winning entries from this year’s Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival Short Story Competition for children.

Lauren Child with Imogen Lycett Green

Meet the Children’s Laureate

1.00 - 2.00pm


Consultus Marquee

Suitable for 7+

Lauren Child, the current Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate believes that creativity has been squeezed out of modern life for many of us.  For Lauren, creativity is a life-changer and we should all allow ourselves idle time to dream and experiment. She will be in conversation with Imogen Lycett Green, director of the Betjeman Poetry Prize.  They will discuss inspiration, poetry, illustration, and her many books including Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and A Dog with Nice Ears, her latest Charlie and Lola picture book.

Sponsored by Chilstone Makers of Fine Cast Stone

Chilstone create beautiful garden ornaments, from fountains to statues and planters. Each piece is hand crafted and increases in value as it weathers. We also make bespoke items to order for gardens and house building as well as restoration projects.

Leigh Ladies Choir

1.00 - 2.00pm

Free with a ticket to the Festival

The White Rose Room / Festival Bar

Enjoy a drink from the Festival Bar and listen to the Leigh Ladies Choir performing a medley of seasonal choral songs. The Leigh Ladies Choir was formed in 2016 and is open to any local ladies who like sining a wonderfully diverse range of music. There is no audition, but there is a strong emphasis on good singing technique.

Jim Al-Khalili and Sir Nigel Shadbolt with Andrew Franklin

What’s Next: The Future of Science and AI

2.15 - 3.15pm


Consultus Marquee

What’s next for the human race?  Are we ready for a self-mending bicycle? What about a pill that means we’ll never have a bad mood again? Are we up for living in space, or in a world where medicine is tailored to our specific DNA? Do we need to be ready for the moment that artificial intelligence simply takes over? Join leading scientists Jim Al-Khalili and Sir Nigel Shadbolt as they discuss the future of robotics, the Internet of Things, cloud technologies, big data, cybersecurity, privacy and AI. They will dispel some of the terror, confusion and misconceptions about AI and will explain we are not about to be elbowed aside by a rebel army of super-intelligent robots of our own creation. The much-vaunted Transcendence moment is not coming any time soon. This session will be entertaining, informative and filled with ground-breaking science suitable for families and children over 13.

Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a British physicist, author and broadcaster. He is the editor of What’s Next and is currently Professor of Theoretical Physics and Chair in Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey. He hosts Radio 4’s The Life Scientific and was the 2016 winner of the inaugural Stephen Hawking medal for science communication.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt is the co-author with Roger Hampson of The Digital Ape, Principal of Jesus College Oxford and professorial research fellow in the Department of Computer Science, Oxford. He is the chairman and co-founder of the Open Data Institute with Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Andrew Franklin is the founder and Managing Director of Profile Books, an independent publishing company.

Sponsored by NFU Mutual

NFU Mutual is based in Edenbridge in the heart of the community, covering West Kent, East Surrey, Sevenoaks & District, Bromley and Orpington. Our products include home, car and business insurance. We also offer investments, pensions, life assurance and more. We make time to help you give your financial decisions the care and attention they deserve, and we pride ourselves in offering a friendly, personalised and local service.

Kate Mosse with Deborah Lawrenson

The Burning Chambers

3.30 - 4.30pm


Consultus Marquee

A literary exclusive for Chiddingstone Castle sees the launch of The Burning Chambers, the new historical novel from Kate Mosse; bestselling author of Labyrinth and co-founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. The Burning Chambers is Kate’s first novel since The Taxidermist’s Daughter in 2014. Set in sixteenth-century Languedoc, this is a gripping story of love and betrayal, mysteries and secrets; of war and adventure, conspiracies and divided loyalties, covering three centuries and travelling the world from Carcassonne to Southern Africa. A Romeo & Juliet story of two families – one Catholic and one Protestant –  of loss, inheritance, a priceless relic, a story of displacement, war and faith.

Kate Mosse OBE is the author the No 1 multi-million selling Languedoc Trilogy - Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel - and No 1 bestselling Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is currently adapting for the stage. Kate is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and sits on the Executive Committee of Women of the World.

Deborah Lawrenson is the author of eight bestselling novels with a vivid spirit of place, including The Art of Falling and The Lantern. The Death in Provence mystery series, co-written with her husband Robert Rees, launches this summer in the UK and the USA.

Sponsored Buzzacotts Chartered Accountants

“People trust us because we are good at what we do, and because of how we do it. We help you simplify today’s complexities, address tomorrow’s challenges, and take fear out of the equation. We anticipate problems before they happen, and offer tailor-made solutions. We take time to understand you, discovering what makes you tick.”

Evan Davis with Andy Bell

Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It

4.45 - 5.45pm


Consultus Marquee

Never has there been more concern about dishonesty in public life. From President Trump to the Brexit debate, we hear constant talk of falsehoods and fake news, and appeals to alternative facts. Bullshit is rife; found in the verbiage of company annual reports, excitable headlines promising a new cure for cancer, canned laughter on TV, and of course in political spin. Every day, we encounter exaggeration, euphemism, economy with the truth, carefully selected words designed to mislead without actually lying, and sometimes, pure nonsense.

Evan Davis and Andy Bell are well placed to view the panoply of deception and spin employed not just in recent politics, but in all walks of life. They will explain why bullshit is both pervasive and persistent and how best to chart a route through the muddy waters of the post-truth age.

Evan Davis is a well-known broadcaster; presenting Newsnight on BBC 2, The Bottom Line on Radio 4 and Dragons’ Den on BBC 2. He was a presenter on Radio 4s Today programme for six years and was previously the Economics Editor of the BBC.

Andy Bell is a journalist and Political Editor of ITN’s Five News. Previously he was Foreign Affairs Editor of Radio 4s Today programme.

Sponsored by Thompson Spare Estate Agency

Thompson Spare, Tunbridge Wells’ newest Estate Agency, provides a friendly, bespoke service for clients wanting something other than the usual “off-the-peg” experience. Our team has over 35 years’ experience in selling houses in the town and on the Kent/Sussex borders, with the aim to make your move as stress-free as possible.

Our Sponsors

We are grateful once again to our title sponsors Brooks Macdonald, an award-winning company that specialises in providing investment management services across the UK and internationally.

We are delighted to be supported by so many prestigious companies.

Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone Castle is an historic house, set in 35 acres of Kentish countryside, filled with treasures collected over a lifetime by Denys Eyre Bower.

Stay in touch