MBC is hosting the festival which will be for adults and children in order to celebrate diverse writers and support the school curriculum’s ‘pleasure for reading’ goals set by the Department for Education.
The Literary Festival, which is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, will run from 2 – 8 October and is set to be launched at the prestigious Maidstone Museum Library where guests will have the chance to meet various authors taking part in the events programme. The festival will include a number of workshops for primary schools with author visits with further events taking place within Maidstone Town Centre venues for adult fiction with the programme line-up announced in the coming months.
Two authors have already signed up for the festival. The first is Jack Meggitt-Phillips author, scriptwriter, and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on BBC Radio 4. To date, his five-book middle-grade series, The Beast and the Bethany, has been published in 33 territories worldwide. Jack will be joined by Maidstone-based author Gianna Pollero author of the popular children’s book series Monster Doughnuts. Gianna was born and raised in Maidstone and originally trained as a journalist but has spent the last twenty years working in communications roles for a number of organisations.
MBC Lead Cabinet Member for Leisure and Arts, Cllr Claudine Russell said:
We are so pleased to announce the first Literary Festival for Maidstone on World Book Day. Research from the Department for Education shows that engaging children with reading from the beginning is one of the most important ways to make a difference to their life chances. A recent survey of young people revealed that 50% would be encouraged to read more after meeting an author.
The festival will also give us the opportunity to celebrate some home-grown talent and showcase their work with book lovers across the borough. To see our town centre become a literary festival location instils a fantastic pride of place and adds to the growing cultural events calendar in Maidstone.
The Council is working with a specialist team which includes editors of children’s books, local authors and education specialists to deliver the festival which will include a variety of authors appearing at events for adults and children in and around the town centre.
Literary Festival Director Jodi Eeles said:
Without the support of Maidstone Borough Council and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund we couldn’t have brought this festival to fruition. There is a small team of us who have been working hard to bring a literary festival to Maidstone and to see this being realised is very exciting.
The festival will be small to start this year with big plans for future growth. We would love to see it grow and reach out to minority groups such as offering British Sign Language options and even consider how to bring the latest technology into the programme.
We’ve long been admirers of other local literary festivals and felt there was a gap missing in Maidstone. The aim is that this year tests the water with some great local authors with plans for an annual event that grows and develops with our town. From little acorns my big oak trees grow!
The Maidstone Literary Festival will run from October 2-8 with a collection of 10 events for adults and primary school children.
One of MBC’s priorities is a Thriving Place and the Literary Festival reflects that.