Bath Festival of Children’s Literature was founded in 2007 by Gill and John McLay, Bath-based children’s publishing professionals, who have been organizing the festival since its inception. The festival’s partners and sponsors include Bath Spa University, Bath & North East Somerset Council, book retailer Waterstones, local schools and libraries, mass media.
Bath Kids’ Lit Fest usually lasts ten days, spanning two weekends. Various events are held at local schools on weekdays, but the most exciting events take place on weekends in several venues across the city. Each year, the festival features authors, poet, storytellers and illustrators from all over the United Kingdom and abroad. Some events have free admission, while others require tickets.
Bath Festival of Children’s Literature regularly attracts some of the biggest children’s authors and illustrators from the UK and internationally. Past special guests have included Jacqueline Wilson (Stevie Day, Tracy Beaker, Freddy’s Teddy, Hetty Feather), Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, The Butterfly Lion), Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider, The Diamond Brother), Shirley Hughes (Dogger), Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man), Cornelia Funke (the Inkheart trilogy), Eoin Colfer (the Artemis Fowl series), Darren Shan (The Saga of Darren Shan), Neil Gaiman (Stardust, Coraline), Francesca Simon (the Horrid Henry series), and many others.
The goals of the festival are quite simple. The event is designed to entertain children and to encourage them to read more. The organizers aim to create a friendly, family atmosphere in which young festival attendees can meet their favorite authors and book characters, learn something new, talk to each other and make new friends.
Along with Q&As and book signings with special guests, the program of Bath Kids’ Lit Fest includes book readings, games, quizzes, and craft activities. The festival star-studded line up sometimes leads to huge signing cues. At some events, young book fans have to wait up to three hours to get their books signed by their favorite author.