BOAMBF is getting ready to go again! We’re working on a brilliant schedule of FREE events and fun for you this summer at Bradford on Avon Library. And the big day is SATURDAY 15th JULY. So Save the Date! 
We can’t wait to tell you who’s coming and what’s going to go on – we’ve got some very special guests and children’s authors for you this year. There’ll be making and doing all day long of course, and we’ll have a big old buzz about books, with lots of people signing up for this year’s fabulous Summer Reading Challenge.
There’ll be more news and a confirmed programme very soon but we couldn’t resist giving you a little tiny clue about one of the special guests….
Anyone know who this is? The Summer Reading Challenge theme this year is Animal Agents. Looks like she’ll be right at home with that, whoever she may be….!!
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Digging the blutack out of the library carpet….

So the children are gone, and most of the glue came off the walls, and nearly all the pipecleaners were still furry, and those little foam sweety things don’t do too much damage to library vacuum cleaners and the delicious chocolate brownies mostly wiped off the carpet, and the children are gone.

But while they were there how it buzzed and hummed and how much fun was it?  With turnip cakes, and coloured tights and crazy characters and gym and stories and all that making.  So here are a few pics.  If you were there, you might spot yourself – and if you weren’t – well you might get to come next year.

Make sure you do…


Cnf74EBWIAA2Vwt2016-07-16 11.38.272016-07-16 16.46.49

And this is how it looked at the very end.

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Booking tickets!

Tickets for events are going FAST.  To reserve your place ring 01225 863280 or email bradfordlibrary@wiltshire.gov.uk

Just to remind you there are still tickets for:

Friday evening 15th July
7.15 pm – 8.30 Books and Bites  for teens and adults interested in writing and books. 
Saturday: 16th July
10.00am Story and craft. Get tangled in All the King’s Tights with Maudie Smith. (4+)
11.00amDaisy’s Big Dig Illustration workshop with Angie Morgan (3+)
11.00am Get your knightly gear on! with Martin Brown and John Mclay (6+
11.30am Gymtastic activities with Cate Shearwater.
12.30pm Create Crazy Characters and Wonderful Worlds with Anna Wilson. (All ages)
2.00pm Help Fleur Hitchcock write letters to and from lost parents and lost children, (8+)
2.00pm Meet Sedric and Denzel and travel back in time with Angie Morgan  (6+)
All day: Writing Surgery in the library with Alex Campbell – Bring your stories along (7 – grown up)
And building a chocolate factory in the foyer – no need to book for that.
events are ticketed.  Please reserve your FREE tickets for any of the events by calling the Library on 01225 863280 or email: bradfordlibrary@wiltshire.gov.uk
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An invitation to our Festival Launch

Friday 15th July
7.15 pm – 8.30 Books and Bites
Interested in books for children and young people? Fancy writing or illustrating them yourself? Come and meet the BOAMBF team for an informal evening of bookish delights, as well as a free glass of wine  – and some exceedingly tasty bites, kindly provided by our friends at Hartley Farm. Books will also be on sale, thanks to Bradford on Avon’s bookshop, Ex Libris.
An informal and friendly evening to start our mini book festival and a great opportunity to meet the whole team of BOAMBF writers, all of whom are currently writing for young people. Whether you’re interested in writing and illustrating picture books, books for new readers, books for confident readers, junior fiction, ‘middle  grade’, teenage or young adult – our authors cover the whole gamut. So come along, bring a question or two, and chat to six published authors. They’re really quite friendly!
Here they all are: Catherine Bruton, Alex Campbell, Anna Wilson, Maudie Smith, Angie Morgan and Fleur Hitchcock. But do you know who is who?
NB The event is free but please remember to book your place by telephoning the library on 01225 863280
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Free, yes, completely FREE!

So we’re just over a week from the second, absolutely brilliant, totally fabulously FREE Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival.

Oh yes, not a penny do we want from you and your children, but we will still be delivering top flight literary (and not so literary – I believe there was some mention of sticking tights on your head) entertainment.

This is possible because we, the organizing authors and illustrator give our services completely for nothing to the people of the town. Because the library is given free for our use, because the librarians give their time, and because of our excellent sponsors and advertisers, all of whom believe in our festival and have reached deeply into their pockets to smooth our way.

Because there are costs.  Leaflets, programmes, banners and guest stars are not free… we have to pay for them.

So massive thanks for support go to: Wiltshire Council, Bradford on Avon Town Council, all our publishers, Jeremy Jenkins Estate Agent, From You to Me/Journals of a Lifetime, Riverford Organics, The Galleries Freshford, Wansborough Solicitors,  Ex Libris, Hartley Farm, King Edward’s School, The Courtyard Hair Dressers, WRAP, Edifice builders, Formosa Kitchens, Coffee Etc, Roundabout and Second Hand Rose.

Without your help, we just couldn’t do it for nothing. bunch

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Meet the team – Maudie Smith

We’re interviewing all our authors in the run-up to the Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival on 15/16 July.

FreshfordAll the King's Tights cover author, Maudie Smith will be dealing with an awful lot of tights this year as her event is based around her book for new readers, All the King’s Tights.

Maudie’s other recent book, The Cake, the Wolf and the Witch was shortlisted for this year’s James Reckitt Book Award. Hull Libraries asked Maudie all about it:



Teleporting cakes are just one of many crazy things in your book, where do you get your ideas from?!

Tee hee, yes! Initial ideas crop up all over the place. My stories have been sparked by photographs of people I’ve never met, memories from my own childhood, a seashell, other writers’ books, documentaries on television, snippets from the newspaper, even random things I overhear people say on the bus. For example I’m working on a picture book idea at the moment inspired by someone I heard say, “I only ever eat mangoes in the bath!” I found that funny and thought there might be a story in it, too. It might not go anywhere, but it might – I’ll let you know!

What do you think we can learn from fairytales as we grow up?Cake-Wolf-Witch-02

Fairy tales, eh? Where would we be without them? The brilliant scientist, Albert Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”  They’re not just entertaining and exciting. They help us make sense of the world and give us a moral compass, helping us to see the difference between good and evil. When we read about Hansel and Gretel, we identify with and root for them, not for the wicked witch. Although it happens quite subconsciously, when we read fairy tales we learn how to be forces for good in our own lives.

Fairy tales often have frightening things in them – they don’t even always end happily – but if we see heroes battling villains, good battling evil, it can help us feel less anxious about the scary, unknown things in real life. Is there a more reassuring way of learning about the world outside than being tucked up in bed, with someone you love reading you a cracking story? I can’t think of one.

 You began your career as an actress, what did you like best about it?

I worked in the theatre mainly, and I loved being part of a group hurrying towards the deadline of an opening night – there was a sort of war-time spirit to it, without having to have an actual war. It’s really the one thing I miss as a writer. Writing deadlines involve locking yourself away in solitary confinement, but the results can be equally satisfying, and I suppose longer lasting.


 Do you prefer acting as a new character or writing about one?

Good question! They’re actually quite similar things. When I was acting I often worked on devised plays, which means I was creating characters from scratch, just like in writing. I’d need to find out how a character talks, how they move, even how they think. I used to like being put in the ‘hot seat’ as an actor, and have the rest of the company fire lots of questions at me, which I’d have to answer in character. It put me on the spot in the way working alone doesn’t always – I have to be a lot more disciplined about it. The big advantage about writing a character, such as my young alien, Opal Moonbaby, is that, unlike with a play, I have the opportunity to write more than just one story about her. I like having that option to keep developing a character I’ve become particularly attached to.

Max doesn’t understand why his dad married someone so different from what his mum had been like – what do you think helps him accept the change most?

Max has found things very difficult without his mum. Since she died, he’s been trying to keep everything in his life as still as possible because he’s scared of anything else bad happening. So Dad going ahead and marrying Ilona feels like a betrayal. When Max is sent on the quest to bring back the happy endings to the Land of Ever After, he doesn’t realise it but he’s also on a personal quest. His encounters with the fairy tale characters, particularly Loth who is stuck alone in the dwarves’ house with nothing but his cherished memories of Snow White, help Max understand who he is and who he wants to be. They make him feel stronger in himself, so he can let change, new experiences and new people into his life – and some happiness too.

Thanks Hull Libraries, and Maudie, for the interview. And we look forward to getting tangled in All the King’s Tights!


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Next stop – Fleur Hitchcock!

In the run-up to our Mini Book Festival we’re interviewing the writers involved. This time it’s Fleur Hitchcock, author of the popular MG novel, DEAR SCARLETT and the very funny SHRUNK! series.

You have an exciting and rather beautiful new book out soon. What’s it all about?

bus stop baby

BUS STOP BABY is about Amy – a 13 year old girl who lives in a village, very much like the villages around here. It’s just after Christmas and she comes home on the school bus one freezing night to find a newborn baby abandoned at the bus stop. I won’t tell you more, because that will ruin the story, except to say that Amy’s life is turned upside down as a result. It’s a feelgood kind of a book, and I really enjoyed writing it.

Who or what inspires you?

Beautiful mornings. Just seeing the countryside either in winter or summer really lifts me and helps the ideas to gel in my head. That and listening to people on the bus, in the market, in cafes.

What does BOAMBF mean to you?

It means the library – reading, engaged children, a true community effort, a warm sense of lovely.

And the Summer Reading Challenge?

I totally adore the Summer Reading Challenge. My son grew up on it, and now I volunteer in the library to listen to children telling me about the books that they’ve read. I really enjoy hearing about their experience with a book. They don’t like all of them, but often they read something they’d never have gone near. Last year I heard all about a book on cricket. It wouldn’t have interested me, I’d never have suggested it, but this boy brought the book to life – he absolutely loved it and rushed off to find another one

fleur hitchcock

What will you be doing at the Festival?

My event will be a workshop. It will be all about BUS STOP BABY, and the people involved. It will be about losing and finding and about families and their secrets. It should be fun, and thought provoking. Perfect for someone who doesn’t always like writing very much, and perfect for someone who loves writing.

What’s your experience of school visits and festivals?

I do lots of school visits and I’ve done quite a bundle of festivals. If I didn’t visit schools I wouldn’t get the feedback I need to be a writer. Adults are OK, but children are much more honest and direct. Also, there’s nothing like standing in front of 300 people to make you concentrate and refine and improve.

What’s the best question you’ve ever been asked at an event?

Talking of direct. I was at the James Reckitt Award in Hull a couple of years ago with a lovely long signing queue that was making me feel fabulous, when a girl came up to me and said: “Oh – Dear Scarlett? Did you write that?” “Yes,” I said, with pride. “Really,” she said. “I thought it was really boring.”

Oh no! 😦   Moving on…

Have you appeared in any strange venues?

I did a school event from the stage in a school where the nativity was all set up. I left my books on the baby Jesus’s crib and felt as if I should burst into song at any moment.

Who is your favourite author?

Oh dear – there are so many – Joan Aiken, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Giancarlo Gemin, Hilary Mckay, S. F Said…

Tell us a joke

Where does Julius Caesar keep his armies? Up his sleevies.

Thank you, Fleur. See you at the Festival!

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