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The Big Malarkey Festival

7th July 2017

Hull’s First Children’s Literature Festival

So much fun was had at last weeks Big Malarkey – Hull’s first children’s literature festival.

The James Reckitt Library Trust is delighted this inaugural event has been such a huge success for children of all ages, and their grown-ups!

Over the course of the week (26 June – 2 July) Hull Libraries welcomed nearly 8000 literary lovers to Malarkey Park – a fantastical tented village in the heart of East Park, Hull. With over 110 creative sessions taking place to inspire and encourage interaction there was something for every budding poet, writer, illustrator, performer, musician, artist…

The jam-packed programme was skillfully put together by Festival Director, Ellen Bianchini. Ellen said,

“We wanted to inspire children to create their own tales and enjoy storytelling in all its forms, whether that’s through craft, written word, performance or music. We live in a very complicated world and the arts can really help you to make sense of things, and this is especially vital for young people. Also, literature is enjoyable and fun, and that’s important too.”

A five-day school’s programme and the free, unticketed, themed ‘Teatime Tasters’ took place on Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri from 3:30 – 5:30, giving families a chance to enjoy some of the highlights. Tickets for the weekend’s festivities sold out within 2 hours.

The launch event saw a visit from Waterstone’s Children's Laureate, Lauren Child with an insightful talk and Q&A session followed by a book signing outside the ‘Love My Library’ tent.

Throughout the week, numerous acclaimed authors came to discuss their work, including Jeremy Strong, Steve Cole, A.F. Harrold, Nick Arnold, Annabel Pitcher, Lydia Monks, Jamila Gavin, Kristina Litten and Julian Clary chatting about his new book series, The Bolds.

Other special guests included poets Adisa, Rob Gee, Simon Panrucker, Akala; Calvin Innes and illustrators from Anorak magazine and the Hull School of Art and Design; dance workshops from Ten Foot Dance Company, enchanting storytelling sessions led by Hull-based theatre group Broccolily, Just Soph and Travelling Treasury; with music from Mambo Jambo, Hekima, Bandanarama and the Shitnitz to round off the weeks celebrations with music and merriment at the grand costumed storybook ball.

It was truly a festival to remember, great to see so many inspired, engaged children and wonderful to hear such positive feedback:

“Overwhelmingly awesome #HullMalarkey…so much to do, the best children’s literature festival/event I’ve been to..”

Amazing work from Hull Libraries - hope we’ll be back to tell the tale again next year!