Sailing ships, magical wizards, astronauts, Gruffalos, detectives and more all played their parts at the fifth Greenwich Book Festival in June 2019.
With more than 70 events in all, the festival took place in a variety of locations around the borough in early June and also three days at the University of Greenwich at the Old Royal Naval College on June 13-15, finishing with a Festival Finale at Greenwich Theatre.
Sir Michael Palin spoke to a full house on Friday evening about the history of the ship Erebus. Illustrator Axel Scheffler spoke about kindness while he drew some of his most famous characters, including the Gruffalo. Cressida Cowell delighted audiences at Greenwich Theatre on Sunday as she recounted her writing career, up to and including her new series, “Wizards of Once.” Billy Bragg talked about activism and the current state of affairs in the festival marquee on Saturday night.
The fifth festival tried to have events that would appeal to book lovers of all ages including author talks, creative workshops, storytelling, a poetry jukebox and debates. The Platform: A Showcase for Greenwich Authors, allowed local authors to talk about their work.
Kipper the dog wandered the grounds as children and their families went to the Harry Potter Party in the festival marquee, learned how to make Beano comics with writer and illustrator Nigel Auchterlounie, attended a Tiger Who Came to Tea tea party or took part in the free creative workshops in the Dreadnought Building.
Emily Haworth-Booth, the festival’s Illustrator in Residence, wandered the grounds and captured much of the action, including creative workshops, the celebration of the “New Daughters of Africa Anthology” and Tracey Thorn discussing her suburban teenage years.
Primary Schools Day on Friday allowed schoolchildren from Greenwich schools attend the festival for free to meet authors and learn how book publishing works. A full day of workshops and book signings were conducted by Onjali Q. Rauf, author of “The Boy in the Back of the Class,” Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick, author and illustrator of the Stick and Fetch detective series, Adam Baron, author of “Boy Underwater,” and Raman Prinja and Chris Wormell, author and illustrator of “Planetarium.”
University of Greenwich staff gave free public lectures on topics as diverse as the Evelyn, Pepys and Greenwich, what makes language different, science outreach through comic books and children’s magazines during World War II.
Greenwich Theatre hosted three days of events, including a student showcase featuring plays by creative writing students on Thursday and Friday, and our Festival Finale on Sunday, with Robin Stevens in the morning, and Cressida Cowell in the afternoon.
The book festival again went on the road this year, bringing events to other parts of Greenwich. Storyteller Vanessa Woolf visited Woolwich Library and Eltham Library to celebrate 20 years of the “That’s Not My…” series with toddlers. Catherine Johnson inspired secondary school students with a creative writing workshop. First, she worked with students from Leigh Academy Blackheath on campus at the University in Greenwich in the morning, and then at John Roan School in the afternoon.
Greenwich Book Festival will return in June 2020, making it the sixth year for the festival.
Please take a look at more photographs from our events.