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Our Festival celebrates reading, writing and creativity and is a collaborative project , jointly co-ordinated by the Librarians of the eleven secondary schools across Swindon. Throughout the festival week, students work with authors, poets, illustrators and storytellers who visit schools for readings, performances and workshops.

For our 2016 Festival, we are delighted to announce the following top names in literature:

  • Fred Blunt
  • Steve Cole
  • Dave Cousins
  • Stan Cullimore
  • Ash Dickinson
  • David Gatward
  • Rob Lloyd-Jones
  • Mark Lowery
  • Anthony McGowan
  • Chris Priestley
  • Bali Rai
  • Chris Riddell
  • Holly Smale
  • The Two Steves
  • Joffre White

We kick off this year’s events on Monday 7th November with none other than the UK’s 2015-2017 Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell. A prolific writer and illustrator, Chris has won great acclaim for his children’s books. He is also a renowned political cartoonist for the Observer and we are delighted that he will be joining us.

Our headline event for all schools will take place at the Wyvern Theatre on Thursday 10th November with the fabulous Holly Smale. As the author of Geek Girl, Holly saw her work become the number one best -selling young adult fiction title in the UK in 2013. Her stories draw on her own experience; at the age of fifteen Holly was unexpectedly spotted by a top London modelling agency and ‘spent the following two years falling over on catwalks, going bright red and breaking things she couldn’t afford to replace.’ Geek Girl has been shortlisted for several major awards and won the teen and young adult category of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

During the week , performance poet Ash Dickinson will visit each of the eleven secondary schools to perform his poetry to all Year 7 students, encouraging their “inner poet” by supporting them to create their own rhymes and verse. Illustrator and author, Fred Blunt, will host a series of illustration workshops for Art and Design students. The completed art work from the workshops will be judged by Fred with the winners cordially invited to our celebration evening to collect their prizes.

Each school will also host workshops and interactive talks from their chosen authors throughout the week as scheduled overleaf. They will also host transition events featuring the best in KS2 authors and writers for students from their partner primary schools in years 5 and/or 6. These sessions incorporate even more of Swindon’s student population into the exciting world of reading, writing and creativity supported and celebrated by the Swindon Youth Festival of Literature.

The Festival programme also includes a range of cross-school activities to contribute to the week-long celebration:

Inter School Book Quiz – Teams from each of the 11 secondary schools.
Creative Writing Competition – 500 words story inspired by an image.
Illustration Competition – Creation of illustrations from a section of text from the Carnegie 2016 winning title.

The SYFL, is funded by the Swindon Association of Secondary Heads (SASH). We are extremely grateful this year for the additional sponsorship of prizes and printing by Micro Librarian Systems, Bower and Bailey, Browns Books for Students, WH Smith and Santander.

“I genuinely love being part of this festival. It’s my third year being involved and there is no other festival like it. A true one-off and one that should be treasured.”
Phil Earle 2015


For more information contact :
Fiona Hardcastle, Co-ordinator, Swindon Youth Festival of Literature
The Dorcan Academy, St Pauls Drive, Covingham, Swindon, SN3 5DA
Tel : 01793 525231 ext 144. Email : fhardcastle@dorcan.swindon.sch.uk