Charleston Festival offers top names for young authors

Young bookworms have a treat in store at this year’s Charleston Festival (May 19 to 29).

Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo

Festival spokeswoman Carole Buchan said: “Four of their favourite authors will be talking about their books, what inspires them and which books they read when they were children.

“Appearing on the Charleston stage over the weekends of May 21 and 22; 28 and 29 are Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo; Lauren Child, Philip Reeve and Jessie Burton.

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“The talks, aimed at eight to fourteen year olds, range from what it feels to be an outsider; living more harmoniously with the planet; how to create memorable characters and how to build magical worlds.

“There will be a chance for the youngsters to bring along their own books to be signed by the authors.”

Jacqueline Wilson, author of the Tracy Beaker books, in an interview with Carole Buchan this week, says she has probably always championed the outsider.

“I suppose I’m more interested in a child going through a difficult time, rather than the most popular boy or girl in the class,” she said.

She always loved reading as a child and found books enormously comforting , enlightening and enriching. She made up her own games when she was little and started writing them down as stories when she grew older.

“My home life was turbulent, “ she added “so perhaps I have a particular understanding of children who aren’t enjoying a happy-go-lucky childhood.”

Michael Morpurgo, who has written about the First World War in War Horse and Private Peaceful, says children have to know the world they are living in – the good, the joyful, the ugly, the sad.

“They have to know the cruelty and tragedy of war, “ he says “as well as the beauty of the world about them. Above all it is important there is hope in the stories they read – a light in the darkness.”

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