Friday 5 June 2015

Walker authors and illustrators at Hay Festival

The annual Hay Festival came to a close this past weekend, and we’re pleased to have had some of our brilliant picture book makers there this year hosting events for children.

Nicola Davies ran an event talking about her non-fiction picture book, Tiny. To explain microbes to her young audience, Nicola used props including a hot water bottle and a yeast and sugar mix to demonstrate how microbes work, and made the mixture rise during her talk.

Nicola Davies discusses the field of microbiology in her picture books event
Nicola also staged the theatrical performance of The King of the Sky – Nicola’s forthcoming picture book which we publish at Walker next year. The book reunites Nicola with Laura Carlin, illustrator of 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal shortlisted picture book The Promise

The plot follows an Italian family who move to South Wales in the 1920’s and how they learn to adapt to their new home. The cast performed with beautiful music and songs and Laura's stunning artwork was featured as part of the set design. 

The King of the Sky theatrical show
Storyteller Atinuke brought the sounds of Africa to Hay – and spoke about her latest Anna Hibiscus picture book, Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus

Sam McBratney, the writer of Guess How Much I Love You made a rare public appearance by speaking at the festival this year. His event was chaired by Julia Eccleshare (Children’s Books Editor for The Guardian). There were lots of fans in the audience who were thrilled to meet the creator of Guess How Much I Love You and ask him questions.

Sam McBratney on stage with Julia Eccleshare
Storyteller VanessaWoolf performed two sensory storytelling sessions bringing Guess How Much I Love You to life for very young children.

Nick Butterworth spoke about his Q Pootle 5 books (now a CBeebies television show). His reading of the stories was perfectly complemented by the starry ceiling in the festival’s Starlight Tent!

Aardman Animations model maker Jim Parkyn ran three sessions teaching children the stages of how to make their own little Shaun the Sheep clay models to take home. Baa-rilliant creative fun!


Chris Haughton had one solo event reading from and talking about how he made his three beautiful picture books A BitLost, Oh No, George! and Shh! We Have a PlanGeorge even joined Chris on stage! As part of his event, Chris taught his audience the Hat Monkey dance. If you haven't come across the Hat Monkey app yet, we urge you to discover it.

George makes an appearance in Chris Haughton's family event!

Chris leads the Hat Monkey dance
Chris then joined a Words and Pictures panel with fellow children’s illustrators Emily Gravett and Yasmeen Ismail, chaired by Megan Farr. The illustrators dazzled their audience by drawing the characters from their next books. Everyone was very excited to see an exclusive sneak peak of Chris’s forthcoming Walker picture book...keep visiting our Picture Book Party blog for updates!

During the festival, our friends at hosted a special ‘writing tree’ in the festival's Make and Take tent. All of our authors and illustrators stopped by to add an illustration to the tree, or write down the name of their favourite book.

Our authors and illustrators had a great time at the festival this year, and loved meeting their young fans and inspiring children to read - or even write or illustrate their own stories.

Visit the Hay Festival website for details about the 2016 festival, and follow @HayFeverFest on Twitter for updates too.