The Story Museum

Oxford Literary Festival Weekend One!

The sun's been out, the sky's been blue - and I've been enjoying the first weekend of the Oxford Literary Festival. Most of the events I've been to this weekend have been held at The Story Museum, making it even more special!

'Ever After' is a new exhibition and the 'Story Craft' is on a mission.

The Story Museum faces a challenge. It must gather the greatest stories of all time and the greatest ways of telling them. Only then can it become a wonder. Only then can it begin to fulfil its true potential.

So it has dispatched Ever After, its fantastical Story Craft, on a mission to collect the 1001 greatest stories and the treasures they contain. Tales from other times and other places. Told in person, on paper and on screen.

But where should it go and what should it bring back? We need you to tell us your favourite bits from your favourite stories so our craft can collect them for the museum. We need your help to shape and build a collection that will enrich young lives for generations to come.

Some familiar faces appeal to visitors, asking for their contributions. It's a great space!

But back to the Festival... I am planning some more detailed posts about some of the sessions I attended so here's an overview!

I posted about Steve Antony's new 'Mr Panda' book yesterday!

Next was Rob Biddulph talking about penguins, bears and pirates!

My next session was at the library, listening to Gill Lewis and Elizabeth Laird with Anna Bassi, editor of The Week Junior. It was a fascinating session with everyone speaking passionately about the subjects they cover. 

'Welcome to the Real World' was a session billed as a 'Young Adult Special Event'. Sadly, I am no longer a young adult, but I still enjoyed listening to Juno Dawson, Clare Furniss and Patrice Lawrence discussing a whole range of topics!

Sunday was off to a roaring start with Paul Stickland, author of 'Dinosaur Roar' which was one of my son's favourites when he was little. This was a great session, full of fun and laughter!

Nick Sharratt taught us all how to draw the Cat and the King in his session at lunchtime. He gave us a fascinating insight into how he became an illustrator!

My final session of today was meeting Hugless Douglas and his creator, David Melling!

So many great events- I'm really looking forward to what next weekend will bring!

And Happy Mothers' Day, mum! I know you will be reading this! xxx

John Foster: the magic man of poetry!

I first saw John Foster perform some 20 years ago at the school where I was teaching. I'm ashamed to say that at the time I had no idea who he was- but I have never forgotten him or the energy and enthusiasm with which he performed!

Since then, I have often used his poems with children and his collection, 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Chocolate Bar', was one of my son's favourite books! Seeing the pleasure and enthusiasm children have for his poetry is always a delight. So, when I found out he was going to be at The Story Museum, I just had to go and listen to him performing poems.

And what a wonderful session it was! John read and performed his own poems and those of others, with his audience joining in with actions and words. He shared poems about cats, dogs, bears, monkeys, foxes and chickens! 

The children in the audience responded so well to his enthusiasm and the humour of his poems. We were all sad when it was time to finish!

John has a new collection of poems which is coming out in October. Entitled 'Christmas Crackers', it is a self-published collection in aid of Parkinson's UK. He is delighted that many wonderful illustrators have agreed to work with him on this collection- Korky Paul, Chris Mould, Jane Eccles, Gerald Scarfe, Melanie Williamson... It sounds like a wonderful project- and a book which will become part of my collection!