Authors inspire pupils at Norfolk Children’s Book Festival

Author H L Dennis with youngsters from Norfolk schools at the children's book festival in Norwich.

Author H L Dennis with youngsters from Norfolk schools at the children's book festival in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

Young bookworms spent the day being inspired by authors at a special event celebrating storytelling.

Norfolk Children's Book Festival took place at Norwich School yesterday and was part of the Young Norfolk Arts Festival, which is supported by the EDP.

More than 600 children from schools across the county enjoyed taking part in the event, which aimed to promote a life-long love of books.

Authors who were involved in the day included Tim Bowler, who won the Carnegie Medal for his book River Boy; Kjartan Poskitt, who writes both fiction and non-fiction including his Murderous Maths series; Helen Dennis, author of the Secret Breakers series; and adventure novelist Craig Simpson. Performance poet Molly Naylor also entertained the pupils.

'It was just a fabulous festival and an honour to be involved in,' Mrs Dennis said.

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'I read sections of one of my books, and because my books are about code cracking I also involved the children in some code cracking too, and they all seemed very enthusiastic.

'The festival was a brilliant way to celebrate fiction, to get children together to talk about books and help inspire them. If you equip children with reading skills and excite them about books you set them up for life with reading.'

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Among the pupils taking part in the day was 12-year-old James Lawes, from Sheringham High School, who was also awarded first prize for the creative writing competition.

'I was really, really excited to win,' he said. 'My story was called Specimen X, and it's about a small town surrounded by a moor, and there's a small chemical facility and a chemical leaks into the moor which causes a buried dinosaur egg to start mutating...'

Twelve-year-old Jason Bell, from Norwich School, came second in the creative writing competition with his story The Lengths We Go To.

He said: 'The festival was great. I liked hearing from the authors and getting the stories behind the books, and hearing about their inspiration.'

Daisy Den Engelse, 13, from Reepham High, said: 'I thought the festival was really exciting and it has helped inspire me. I really enjoyed the code breaking.'

Nick Park, 13, from Reepham High, said: 'It really made you feel anything is possible with writing books. It's great how the festival brought together everyone who likes to read so you could share reading experiences. I like adventure books with plot twists and turns, a good page turner.'

Cheryl Wood, senior school head librarian at Norwich School, organised the event and she said it was lovely to get other schools involved.

She said: 'The festival is a lovely way to engage children with books and authors, and expand their reading repertoire and opportunities. We hope that the pupils all had a really good day hearing the authors talk about their work.'

The schools involved included: Norwich School, Blofield Primary, Brundall Primary, Burston and Tivetshall Partnership, City Academy, Costessey Junior, Dereham Neatherd High, Falcon Junior, Hapton CE VA Primary, Hemblington Primary, Hethersett High, Hewett School, Hobart High, Mattishall Primary, Notre Dame, Rockland St Mary Primary, Sewell Park College, Sheringham High, St Mary's Junior in Long Stratton, West Earlham Junior, White Woman Lane Junior, Wymondham High and Reepham High.

Norfolk Children's Book Festival is part of the inaugural Young Norfolk Arts Festival which runs until Sunday. The festival programme is packed with events created for and by young people in Norfolk. Visit or call 01603 728469.

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