Reading is Magic Festival returns with Cowell, Rosen and Biddulph

Reading is Magic Festival returns with Cowell, Rosen and Biddulph

The Reading is Magic Festival, a children's digital books festival created during last year’s lockdown and inspired by Cressida Cowell, will return this autumn as a five-day event.

A host of writers and illustrators are to take part, which will be streamed into schools and homes all over the world. The event was founded by Bath Festivals, producers of Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The 2020 festival was estimated to have been watched by 150,000 children and young people in more than 65 countries worldwide.

It takes its name from Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, who coined the term, "reading is magic and magic is for everyone" as she set out her 10-part manifesto championing young people. She will also take part in this year’s festival and share her latest Life-changing Libraries project, which showcases the transformative impact a well-resourced primary school library has on a child’s opportunities.

Joining the free and inclusive programme in 2021 is Michael Rosen, illustrator Rob Biddulph, Laura Ellen Anderson and author Frank Cottrell Boyce. There will also be talks from YA authors Holly Bourne and Will Sutcliffe, graphic novelist Alice Oseman, poet Rebecca Tantony and US middle-grade author B B Alston. It will feature hands-on projects to do at home or in the classroom, in addition to draw-alongs.

Over the five days, from 27th September to 1st October, different themes from Cowell’s Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter will be discussed. These range from empowering children to play their part in looking after the area where they live, to opening discussions about issues facing LGBTQ+ and disabled people as well as the power of friendship. 

As with last year’s festival, Bath Children’s Literature Festival has teamed up with festival partners in different parts of the world, with events coming from Kingston in Jamaica, Toronto and Dublin, among others. The partnership of festivals and programmers is made up of Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Boswell Book Festival, Bradford Literature Festival, Kingston Book Festival, the Irish Children’s Laureate, New Dutch Writing, Seven Stories, Toronto International Festival of Authors and Wigtown Book Festival.