Dulwich Books holds its first literary festival

Dulwich Books holds its first literary festival

Dulwich Books hosted its first literary festival over half-term, using the money it received as the winner of the Independent Bookshop of the Year award at the Bookseller Industry Awards in May.

The south London bookshop won a £5,000 prize sponsored by Gardners for winning the award, and decided to use it to back a festival which took in 13 events at five locations in the area.

Authors taking part included children's author Sam Hepburn, who hosted a day-long writing workshop for seven to 11-year-olds, and Margaret Bateson-Hill, who ran a trio of fantasy writing classes.

Actor Chris O'Dowd and Nick Murphy appeared at the shop to talk about their book Moone Boy (Macmillan Children's Books) with comedy writer John Finnemore, while Harriet Harman MP interviewed Laura Bates about Everyday Sexism (Simon & Schuster).

More events came from Neill Cameron of The Phoenix Comic, and Andrea Mason of creative writing consultancy Literary Kitchen, both holding writing classes, while illustrator Mik Brown shared his advice with aspiring young artists.

Dulwich Books owner Sheila O'Reilly said that 98% of tickets had sold out for the events. She said: "It was ‘a joy for us to set up a local community based festival that supported local writers such as Sam Hepburn, Mik Brown and Margaret Bateson-Hill as well as supporting hundreds of under 14’s inspiring them to write tales and draw cartoons."

David Faulds, a bookseller at the shop, told The Bookseller: "Using the money to host our festival felt like the best thing we could do. We always want to get the community involved where we can, and focusing on children through half-term week seemed to make sense. As a bookshop nowadays, events are so important. It's not like people going to a chemist to buy some toothpaste – when they come to a bookshop, they can meet their favourite writer. We'll definitely look at doing it again."