Clare Balding to get Shrewsbury Bookfest off to a galloping start

Clare Balding is set to get Shrewsbury Bookfest’s annual children’s literature festival off to a galloping start next month.

Clare Balding with her book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. Photo: Mark Allan
Clare Balding with her book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. Photo: Mark Allan

Kicking off the festival with her trademark warmth and charm, the TV, radio presenter and best-selling author is coming to Shrewsbury to talk about her wonderful children’s book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop.

Clare will be sharing with the audience the challenges that face us all as we grow up, how to face down our fears and fulfil our dreams with her usual, common-sense warmth and humour that has seen her become such a respected and much loved public figure.

Since starting in 1999, the Shrewsbury Bookfest’s May Festival has become a hugely respected and popular event in the county’s calendar and regularly attracts audiences in their thousands.

What promises to be four days of high-quality entertainment and fun for children and families is brought to the county by a hard-working team of trustees and volunteers. The Bookfest team work hard throughout the year on a whole programme of events in schools and the local community to help bring books alive for children and encourage a love of reading, and they have built strong and positive relationships with schools, publishers and local businesses.

Returning as headline sponsor for the second year running, Galliers Homes’ Marketing Manager Danielle Goffe-Wood said that the firm was pleased to be able to announce a continuation of the partnership.

“As a company, Galliers is very proud of its links to Shrewsbury and is keen to get involved in community events, charities and activities – our sponsorship of Shrewsbury Bookfest is an ideal opportunity for us to support one of the town’s great festivals.”

This year’s festival line up:

Friday 28th April:
Clare Balding – Kicking off the festival with her trademark warmth and charm, this national treasure and best-selling author is coming to Shrewsbury to talk about her wonderful children’s book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. Clare will be sharing with the audience the challenges that face us all as we grow up, how to face down our fears and fulfil our dreams with her usual, common-sense warmth and humour that has seen her become such a respected and much loved public figure.

Saturday 29th April:
Gromit Model Making – Returning due to (very!) popular demand, Aardman, the creators of Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit, deliver three workshops where the audience will learn how these unique models are created and make their very own Gromits to take home. No upper age limit!

BOY. WIZARD. HERO. Celebrating the Harry Potter books – Offering Muggles everywhere the chance to explore Harry Potter’s wonderful world with Fleurble Laffalott (super-assistant to the Professor of Potter) with transfiguration, potions and even a slow-motion Quidditch match along the way. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the publication of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, this is a fun and interactive event for all the family, whether you are new to the books or a dedicated fan.

Horrible Histories with MARTIN BROWN – Rotten Roman? Gorgeous Georgian? Vile Viking? No, it’s Horrible Histories’ illustrator Martin Brown with his action-packed, interactive show full of jokes, stories and live drawing. He will reveal secrets about illustrating the bestselling series, and show why everyone can draw. With fantastic facts and deadly drawing, everyone will leave inspired to pick up a pencil.

Rhyme Around The World – Hey diddle diddle, are you ready to riddle? As part of the Spring exhibition in the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, join wayward wordster and award-winning performance poet Sara-Jane Arbury, as she travels through rhyme zones to take a playful look at Rhymes Around The World! Expect crazy games, zany names and lots of words that sound the same. Tons of fun for everyone! You’ll have the rhyme of your life! A fantastically fun introduction into rhyme and poetry for children aged 4+.

Bird Spotting and Jotting with Matt Sewell – Local author and illustrator, Matt Sewell is also an avid ornithologist who will help you discover new bird species, names and stories, and show you how to draw their markings. Matt Sewell is local to Shrewsbury and renowned nationally and features in the Rhyme Around the World exhibition’s reach out project booklet for schools, produced by the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

Sunday 30th April:
The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr’s utterly timeless tale is brought to life by the most experienced children’s storyteller in the business, and watch out for a very lifelike tiger at the door! This event is for 4-6 year olds and will be run 3 times throughout the festival.

Katherine Rundell Emma Carroll with BBC Shropshire’s Vicki Archer – For a darker taste of magic and twists of the imagination, this is a unique opportunity to hear these two award-winning authors unlock their creative secrets. Katherine Rundell’s real-life adventures have so far included travels to the Amazon, flying aeroplanes and tight-rope walking. She takes snow-filled inspiration from Russia to pack her stories with wolves, wilderness and a mesmeric edge of danger. Emma Carroll (shortlisted author for Shrewsbury Bookfest Book Award 2016) challenges her pioneering heroines to unravel the fates of ghosts and become embroiled in death-defying stunts and mysterious plots.

Sunday 7th May:
(This event has had to be rescheduled from published date of Monday 1st May)
Ben Faulks – Cbeebies Presenter “Watch Out For Muddy Puddles” – An opportunity for all 4+ year olds to meet their CBeebies hero, Ben Faulks AKA Mr Bloom, as he leads them on a fabulous and energetic journey to find out what could be beneath the surface of a common or garden puddle. This super-splashy event is all about the joy of imagination and outdoor play. Don’t forget your wellies!

Tickets for all events are available via www.shrewsburybookfest.co.uk or TicketSource, tel: 0333 666 3366.