Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2018 : Schools Day

Tuesday 8th May

Tuesday 8th May - Schools Day

We are welcoming some fantastic children’s authors and performers to the Castle and hope you and your classes will join us.  Each event costs £5.00 per pupil and pre-booking is essential. We are also running a Short Story Competition for children aged 7 - 13, with the chance for it to be read out to a crowd of hundreds at the Literary Festival and published in Scoop Children’s Magazine.

For Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

Andrew Clover - The Seven Secrets of Storytelling

Performance 1: 10.00 - 10.50am

Performance 2: 11.15 - 12.05pm

A wild, Perrier-nominated comic, Andrew Clover has performed his hilarious-but-educational ‘Seven Secrets of Storytelling’ show all round the world, and, since Harper Collins outbid Penguin to give him a seven-book deal for Rory Branagan (Detective), he’s become one of the biggest new names in children’s books.  The first Rory Branagan book hits the shops in April 2018, with the second one due in July. At Chiddingstone, he’ll perform two special versions of his storytelling show, in which he’ll explain why writers need to be a bit like detectives. It’s all about being bold, and being curious, and about having fun.

Sponsored by Story Makers

Story Makers is a workshop for children to explore their creativity and nurture their love of stories led by Shelley Fallows. Email Shelley on

Really Big Pants Theatre Company - Plundered!

Performance 1: 12.55 - 1.45pm

Performance 2: 2.00 - 2.50pm

Whilst searching for hidden treasure, Captain Blackbeard, a famously selfish pirate, has left a once beautiful tropical island littered with rubbish and its inhabitants struggling to survive.  It’s up to Maggie and Roy to save it.  The trouble is…they’re REALLY not friends.  Teleported from their school trip at a maritime museum into the centre of a swashbuckling adventure in the Amazon, can they learn to work together, win the race to find the legendary gold - and restore the place to its natural glory? Can YOU defeat this dastardly litterbug pirate…?

Sponsored by Trinity Theatre

Located in the centre of Tunbridge Wells, Trinity is a vibrant theatre in one of the most beautiful buildings in the region, hosting around 350 events a year.

For Year 3 and 4

Philip Ardagh - My Secret Diary: The Secret Life of John Drawbridge

10.00 - 11.00am

Join Philip Ardagh as he shares the silly secrets of being a knight in training and what life inside a medieval castle was really like in My Secret Diary – The Secret Life of John Drawbridge. Expect a fun fact-filled session with lots of laughs. He’ll also dip into his other My Secret Diary books – Thomas Snoop, Tudor Boy Spy and Jane Pinny, Victorian House Maid. Philip is the Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning author of over 100 books including the Eddie Dickens series and the Grunts series. He is two metres tall with a ridiculously big, bushy beard and size sixteen feet!

Sponsored by Scoop Children’s Magazine

Scoop is a monthly printed magazine for 8+. Designed to inspire and nurture a love of reading and stories. Every month we bring together a host of incredible writers and illustrators who create original fiction and non-fiction, we promise never to talk down to our readers.

Guy Bass and Pete Williamson - Stitch Head

11.15 - 12.15pm

Join Guy Bass and Pete Williamson as they delve into the darkly daft world of Stitch Head. Their bestselling book series follows the adventures of a mad scientist’s forgotten creation and the many monsters that cause chaos in creepy Castle Grotteskew. Expect an interactive hour of ridiculous ramblings and rib-tickling readings, with live (or almost-alive) drawing by Pete…with monsters galore!* Guy is an award-winning author whose children’s books series include Stitch Head, Spynosaur, The Legend of Frog, Dinkin Dings and Atomic! In 2010 Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things won the Blue Peter Award for Most Fun Book with Pictures.

(*Actual monsters not guaranteed).

Sponsored by Sevenoaks Bookshop

Independent booksellers since 1948, we stock an extensive range of carefully chosen new adult and children’s books. Our experienced staff will help you to find the very best books. We also sell beautiful and unusual greetings cards and wrapping paper. We host regular events with a variety of speakers. During half-terms and holidays, we often run free children’s activities. In our small and peaceful cafe, we serve delicious homemade cakes, and hot and cold drinks.

For Year 5, 6 and 7

Abi Elphinstone - Sky Song

12.30 - 1.30pm

Catapult into adventure with Abi Elphinstone. Abi will be talking about the wild adventures behind her books. Recently back from living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and hunting out the northern lights in the Arctic, Abi will share stories and props as she brings her latest book, Sky Song, to life.

‘Sky Song made my heart sing - I loved it!’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave

‘A dazzling snowstorm of an adventure, with hope at its heart’ Emma Carroll

‘Abi Elphinstone’s books are full of adventure, wit, heart, and, above all, bravery’ Katherine Rundell

Sponsored by Betjeman Poetry Prize

Founded in 2006, on the centenary of former poet laureate Sir John Betjeman’s birth, the Betjeman Poetry Prize is a charity in the education sector working with partners across the United Kingdom and Ireland to promote literacy, foster creativity and provide a platform for new voices from the next generation.

Cressida Cowell - Wizards of Once and How to Train Your Dragon

1.45 - 2.45pm

Cressida Cowell is author-illustrator of the multi-million bestselling series How to Train Your Dragon (also a film and TV series). She’s joining us to launch the paperback of her first new project in 18 years, The Wizards of Once - a fantasy, magical adventure that has already been signed up by animation studio DreamWorks and which debuted at number 1 in the UK charts. Cressida will talk about her inspiration, give top tips on becoming an author or illustrator, as well as sharing behind-the-scenes details about how the Dragon books became films. The ‘world-conquering’ How to Train Your Dragon has sold 8 million copies in 38 languages worldwide; Cressida has been an Ambassador for the National Literacy Trust for a decade. Unmissable!

Sponsored by Parrot Street

Parrot Street is a subscription book club for kids aged 5 to 11. Every month your child will receive a letterbox-friendly pack that contains a new book for them to keep, along with an activity pack that includes fun book club-style questions for your child to discuss with their friends and family.  There are games, puzzles, ideas for craft projects and more, all inspired by that month’s book. We offer three, six and twelve-month subscriptions in two different categories: Parakeets, for kids aged 5-8; and Cockatoos, for kids aged 8-11. And for every book we send out, we make a donation to Beanstalk, a national charity that provides one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence. Prices start at just £12 a month (including P&P).

Short Story Competition

We all love a good story. Well here’s your chance to show us your storytelling skills. If you’re aged 7 - 13 enter our competition and write us an original, imaginative story and you could have it read out to a crowd of hundreds at the next Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival and published in Scoop Children’s Magazine.

You’ll also with tickets to see Children’s Laureate Lauren Child at the Festival on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May and receive a signed copy of her latest book.


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.

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