Suffolk: Ambitious schedule for county’s first kids’ literary festival

Jonathan Moore is organising the literary festival

Jonathan Moore is organising the literary festival - Credit: Contributed

Plans for Suffolk’s first literary festival aimed at children are taking shape with an ambitious programme of events scheduled to take place next autumn.

The idea of the festival, which will be based in Sudbury from September 26 to 28, is to highlight literacy issues and celebrate the town’s links with one of the world’s most famous stories.

The drinking fountain and horse trough by St Peter’s Church was mentioned by children’s author Dodie Smith in her bestseller, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, as the place where the puppies stopped for a drink of water while they were trying to escape the clutches of Cruella de Ville.

Now Sudbury man Jonathan Moore, who works with several voluntary organisations in Suffolk, wants to build on the link and use it as a base for an event that will enable youngsters to ‘act out’ a number of well-known children’s stories.

Mr Moore already has the backing of local schools, the county council and a number of national literacy bodies which have signed up to become partners in the initiative. He hopes to create a literacy campaign to coincide with the festival, which he believes will be the first of its kind in East Anglia.

He told the EADT: “The point of the festival is to stimulate literacy-based activities and to begin to build a literacy strategy for Suffolk. We will be working with a local film maker to come up with resources that teachers can use. There are no major kids’ book festivals in the east of England so this will be a very big deal for Suffolk.”

The festival will begin with a bangers-and-mash ‘Beano Banquet’ at St Peter’s Church. The Beano comic cartoonist Barrie Appleby, who lives in Newton near Sudbury, has created a series of five cartoon characters for the festival who will help highlight different literacy issues. Youngsters will be encouraged to take part in a ‘human dog show’ where they dress as dalmatians and enter a number of fun ‘classes’. They will also be invited to write their own pet care manuals.

Most Read

Taking centre stage in Belle Vue Park will be a life-sized pirate ship which will form the basis for a ‘Lost on Treasure Island’ activity where children become characters from the much-loved book. Primary students from across the county will be invited to take part in a ‘101 word’ story competition in the lead up to festival. Mr Moore added: “The response from schools has been immediate and very positive. We are confident we can make this a very successful event.”