Inspiring young readers and writers at Wimbledon BookFest 

There’s less than a week to go before the Wimbledon BookFest Sunset festival begins on Wednesday 15 September in Covid-secure tents on Wimbledon Common, and events there are selling out fast. Find out more about what’s on here

One of the most interesting strands the organisers run throughout the year is what it puts on for young people, which in 2021 has included a writing competition, a creative writing academy for Year 11-13 students hosted by University of Roehampton, and many events at its two festivals, Sunrise and Sunset. 

There are events during the festival which are live-streamed to schools – next week will see, among others, Jess Phillips, the outspoken Labour MP and shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, talk about her incredible life within and without the Houses of Parliament. 

Next weekend sees a host of famous children’s authors at Sunset, kicking off with Polly Dunbar and Eoin McLaughlin reading from their new book, The Longer The Wait, The Bigger The Hug. Polly will also lead a draw-along and show children how to draw the book’s beloved characters Hedgehog and Tortoise 

They will be followed on Saturday by Sophie Dahl, who will discuss her latest book The Worst Sleepover In The World, which explores the experience of first friendships. She’ll be followed by Chris Riddell, the former children’s laureate and cartoonist whose creations appear weekly in The Observer newspaper. 

Riddell has updated Lewis Carroll’s fantastical Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, which is 150 years, taking its heroine on further mind-bending adventures. He will also be live-illustrating scenes from his book as he returns to the festival. 

On Sunday, Rob Biddulph – the author/illustrator behind #DrawWithRob – will celebrate the launch of Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City, a rollicking romp stuffed with magic which is the first in a new series for boys and girls. He’ll also lead a live Peanut Jones-themed episode of #DrawWithRob. 

For details of tickets and all events, go to Wimbledon BookFest’s website