Amelia launches festival programme aimed specifically at younger readers

The team from Corker Outdoor, Award sponsor Jason Varney (Thomson, Snell & Passmore) & Eamonn Holmes

The Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival being held at the end of April features some big-name authors, including TV funnyman David Baddiel and former Tunbridge Wells Grammar schoolgirl Jo Brand, but the team at the Amelia Scott have also just announced an attention-grabbing programme for younger readers.

Aimed at early years to young adults, the festival will feature well-loved authors, award-winning new writers and illustrators from all over the country.

The younger readers’ programme will see readings, performances, questions and answers, activities, and a chance to put pyjamas on for a daytime sleepover.

Venues will include The Amelia Scott, the Assembly Hall Theatre and Trinity Theatre – all in the centre of Tunbridge Wells with plenty of parking nearby and a buggy park in The Amelia’s welcome hall.

Here’s a very brief look at the children’s programme…


Saturday, April 30


Cate Douglas, author and illustrator, will be introducing new readers to Poppy’s Tail, a picture book with a fun, rhyming story all about imagination and creativity. Everyone will be encouraged to join in with the able to wear and waggle a tail just like Poppy’s.


Simon James Green, an LGBTQ+ young adult author, provides the opportunity for pyjamas in a fully immersive daytime sleepover experience. He’ll be discussing his book, the wonderfully funny Sleepover Takeover, which has friendship and inclusion at its heart.


Simon James Green will be returning later in the day to talk about his landmark comedic novel about a group of gay teens, Gay Club!

Writer of horror and fantasy books Darren Shan will be presenting his ‘reverse career retrospective’ to readers old and new. His grisly tales have made horror fans out of many readers, and he’ll be starting with a discussion about his most recent Archibald Lox fantastical book and going all the way back to the series that started it all, Saga of Darren Shan.


Sunday, May 1


New author Manjeet Mann will talk about her first picture book, Small’s Big Dream, which encourages children of all ages to dream big. Discussing the book with Manjeet will be Amanda Quartey, Small’s Big Dream’s debut illustrator, whose spectacular artistic style truly brings Small and her beautiful journey to life.

In a second event, Manjeet will talk about her Costa Children’s Book Award 2021-winning young adult novel The Crossing, about two teenagers from opposite worlds and the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis.


Skye McKenna will be along to discuss Hedgewitch, the first of her fantasy series of five books introducing readers to the hidden village of Hedgely and the story of Cassie Morgan and her search for her missing mother that brings her face to face with Hedgewitch.


Monday, May 2


Playwright, poet and award-winning children’s author Kiran Millwood Hargrave will be discussing Julia and the Shark, winner of Waterstones Children’s Gift of the Year 2021. Kiran will be joined by her husband, artist and author Tom De Freston, whose beautiful illustrations accompany her story.


Author Sita Brahmachari and acclaimed multi-media artist Natalie Sirett will debut the Raven Treasure Box experience. This is an interactive event based around the plot of When Shadows Fall, written by Sita and illustrated by Natalie – a novel that see’s Kai’s friends desperate to save him from falling in with the wrong crowd.

Places are limited so early booking is advised to avoid disappointment.


More about the festival…

New authors and events are announced regularly. Most recently Kate Humble, one of TV’s most recognisable faces (On Our Farm; Springwatch) will be offering an insight into her life through the lens of her new recipe book Home Cooked. Kate will be joined by acclaimed freelance writer and journalist Felicity Cloake, who has just published her book A-Z of Eating.

Kate joins Sunday Times bestseller Pat Nevin, whose memoir The Accidental Footballer has been hailed as ‘an absolute pleasure to read’. He will be in conversation with Chelsea supporter Andy Hamilton and will beguile us with tales of his life in football, his love of culture, and his passion for indie-music – earning him the title ‘the first post-punk footballer’.

Much more information is available at:

See also:

TV presenter Kate Humble and footballer Pat Nevin join headline acts for literary festival

& David Baddiel and Jo Brand among stars set to headline Tunbridge Wells’ new literary festival

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