We are doubly delighted to welcome debut author Emma Read to BOAMBF this year. Not only because she is bringing her spectacularly spidery hero Milton the Mighty with her, but also because we like to think our mini festival had a small but – dare we boast – significant part in his appearance on the literary scene. Here’s Emma to tell you why.

As I write this I am days away from the publication of my debut novel for children – MILTON THE MIGHTY, published by Chicken House.

Milton is a tiny spider who is mistakenly branded ‘deadly’ by the tabloids. In order to save his species, Milton must overcome his self-doubt and do something truly mighty. A little like an inexperienced writer, hoping to get a publishing deal!

In July 2017, inspired by local author, Rachel Ward, I secured the last available slot for a free editorial surgery at BOAMBF, with Chicken House editor, Kesia Lupo. It was a fantastic opportunity – feedback and advice from an experienced industry professional, from one of the best-regarded children’s publishers in the country … and all at no cost! Added to that, the joy of visiting Bradford-On-Avon library, a delight at any time of the year, but on festival day it is full of fun and colour. While I discussed my manuscript, my children were thoroughly entertained, taking part in the various activities.

The wonderful feedback I received reassured me that I was heading in the right direction, on what turned out to be a most successful journey.

Fast forward a year and I found myself in another editorial meeting with Kesia and fellow editor, Rachel Leyshon – this time polishing that same story, ready for publication. Milton had found a home.

So it just remains for me to say a huge thank you to everyone at BOAMBF and Chicken House, for a Mighty start for me and Milton! It is my pleasure to be back again this year with the finished version of Milton, ready for some crafty spider fun!

Thank you, Emma. We can’t wait to see you and find out more about Milton. And if, like us, you really can’t wait, you can read Milton’s very first chapter here