We’ve got some exciting news! Hay Fever and The Chris Evans Breakfast show have teamed up to launch a brilliant short story writing competition for children aged 13 and under. The whole office tuned in to BBC Radio 2 this morning to hear all about 500 Words.
Chris will be joined by some of the best known and best loved names from the world of literature in picking the winners.
The judges will be:
The 2010 Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson
Dame Jacqueline Wilson, former Children’s Laureate and author of The Story of Tracy Beaker
Little Britain star and author of Billionaire Boy David Walliams
Anthony Horowitz, award-winning screenwriter and author of the Alex Rider series
Oliver Jeffers, author of global best-selling picture books including How To Catch A Star, Lost And Found and Up And Down
Children will be asked to write a 500-word story based on any made-up subject they choose and submit it through the BBC Radio 2 website.
Fifty chosen finalists will be invited with their families to party with us (The Telegraph Hay Festival) in June as special guests, where they will watch Chris Evans live broadcast his BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show live to the nation. Five winners will receive book tokens and a wonderful book boost for their school library.
So get involved! The deadline is World Book Day, so look back here in between for updates and writing tips.
Let’s be honest, who at one point or another hasn’t thought how wicked (no pun intended) it would be to be a super-villain. Genius intellect mixed with a desire to wield immeasurable power over the world, along with the odd henchman at your disposal- sounds like a grand day out for everyone! Ok, well maybe just us, but that’s the whole point of being a super-villain – looking after number one!
So, with the above in mind, it will come as no surprise to discover we have a list of our fave super-villains here in the office (it resides near the dart board). Among those lucky few sits Artemis Fowl II – a certain teenage criminal mastermind that captured our hearts right back in 2001 with his ruthless desire for swag (his family motto is Aurum Potestas Est, Gold is Power – clearly another great perk of being super-bad is that you get away with stuff like that). This dastardly adolescent was created by the great Eoin Colfer, who just so happens to be doing a whopping great big exclusive gig for Oxfam Bookfest on Saturday 17 July down in Bristol. As it’s just over the bridge (and we love his stand up routine) pretty much the whole office is popping along to cheer, yell and wave so Eoin feels like the super-star he truly is. If you fancy joining us, just turn up on the day – peeps under 16 are £5, overs free – at Bristol Old Vic, 4pm.
We haven’t yet seen AF7 yet, but we do know it’s got a properly lush cover (see, we’re getting into the Somerset spirit already) and we’ve been assured there will be hot of the press advance copies especially for you (it’s embargoed until 20th for everyone else!) If you’re not able to join in we’ll make sure we post some pics up here – pose suggestions most welcome.
Over the fence: More tips on what not to do as and when you become a super-villain can be found here.
Holey moley we’re all done for another year! It flew by, but we had a blast over the half term and hope you did too.
On the first weekend the big QB played to a packed audience of 1400 peeps and it was awesome. Sunday saw the arrival of an Alien in Underpants and the disappearance of a lovely girl from our Green Room called Hattie – we’re still not sure if the two incidents are connected.
With Monday arrived cookery school magic of strawberry muffins and mini pizzas, side by side with star-crossed lovers* and cheddar cheese flavoured grubs**. Steampunk, horror and illusion finished up a great Bank Holiday weekend.
Hiccup hit Hollywood on Tuesday with the bass on our speakers turned up proper loud and Tom Palmer refereed the biggest penalty shoot out to ever take place at Hay.
Martial Arts madness literally kicked off Wednesday and we all put on our best voices for puppetry laughs*** & underpant songs****.
The giant Puffin of Puffins debate rounded off Thursday as Marcus Brigstocke and Andy Stanton battled it out for our votes – who knew the Cathy Cassidy championed Goodnight Mr Tom would reign victorious?!
We couldn’t move for stars (of both kinds) on Friday while Saturday saw some serious time-travel, starting with a teen Sherlock then whizzing forward to Julius Chancer’s 1920s adventures, stopping of in the present with a Heathrow bomb scare in Tripwire and finishing the day off in a Zombie filled future with horror-buffs (and hopefully new BFFs) Charlie Higson and Mark Kermode.
Then we kicked back on Sunday with pink milk, dragon stew and pirates galore. Phew! Can you tell why we’re still tired?!
Thank you for all your wonderful feedback – it’s so useful and we’re planning for an even bigger and better Hay Fever 2011 already, so keep you requests coming in.
Anywho we’ll have to leave you now to post out lots of pleases & thanks yous. Back soon though with Oxfam Bookfest deets.
*Deborah Newbold – Shakespeare Storytelling
** Richard Platt – Would You Believe..?
*** Sam Lloyd – Calm Down Boris!
**** Nick Sharratt
Phew – well the fest is going super-well, we’ve got another mammoth day ahead of us with Cressida Cowell, Gillian Cross and Tom Palmer (and that’s just the morning!)
Anywho we promised to let you know the superstar author selected for the The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize preview session, where we get up close to one of the longlisters. This year it’s…*drum roll*…ALLY KENNEN.
Yes, the author of such brilliant books, such as Beast, Bedlam and Berserk has been shortlisted for her new book Sparks. So pop along on Wednesday at 4pm it should be a hoot.
The nutshell: When Carla’s beloved Grandpa dies, she is inconsolable. Then she finds a secret letter, and decides to give him the end he always wanted. A Viking funeral, in a burning boat heading out to sea. Carla and her siblings set out on a crazy and dangerous race against time to achieve the impossible. SPARKS is a dark, funny and moving story about love, death, sailing and coffin-stealing.
Yes we have reached the week the festival begins and we’re all just a little bit scared (but in a good way, obv). The schools days kick off on Wednesday and the site will see over 1000 children descend to experience a mini-Hay Festival. With ice-pops, balloons and goody bags at the ready we think we’re pretty much set.
Just the giant book (to accompany the giant pencils) and the huge welcome banner to finish off this evening, then public gallery painting and huge Henry hoover marathon tomorrow.
We hope you’re excited about coming to all (well, some perhaps) of our events – do drop us a line to let us know what you’re most looking forward to. TTFN
Morris Gleitzman is coming half-way around the world to make his Hay debut in 2010 and we’re all just a little bit excited. To those that are unfamiliar with is work, he is Australia’s version of Jacqueline Wilson, in the sense that he is a complete ledg and incredibly prolific. His writing, although seemingly simple contains hidden depths that gets children of all ages really thinking about his stories and the issues within them. The highly acclaimed, yet drastically low profile, Once trilogy begins during the Holocaust and Now, the final installment, brings the reader into the present day, where echoes of the 1940s still resonate with the characters. By today’s standards they look like slips of books, but they contain relationships and plots which many writers would struggle to contain within books ten times their size. If you haven’t read Morris before, we urge you to as soon as possible. For those of you who have, well, you must have booked your seat at Hay already, as you’ll know how special this event will be.
Over the fence:
Read or hear an extract of Now.
Hay Fever peeps are as keen as mustard when it comes to workshops and we try and make sure there are lots of different types each year. Just to change things up. Tickets always go super-fast, but our lovely friends at UK Youth have decided to put some extra ones on – and they’re free! So if you fancy yourself as a bit of a wordsmith, check out the Poetry session, whilst budding directors can sign up to get their hands on a camera for a few hours to document the fest. Young activists can take part in the campaigning workshops to discover how they can really make a difference in the world, whilst physicists of the future are invited to extra robotics slots.
Full details of times and sign ups are on line here. Don’t forget to let us know what you think!
Just up the road from us here in the festival office sits Baskerville Hall – sound familiar at all? Thomas Mynors Baskerville built the stately pile in 1839 for his second wife, Elizabeth. It just so happened that Arthur Conan Doyle was a close family friend who often came to stay. During his many visits he learnt of the local legend of the hounds stalking nearby Hergest Ridge and was so inspired by the rumour he incorporated it into perhaps most famous outing of his keen eyed, hawked nosed detective, Sherlock Holmes. However, and this is one of the bests bits, at the request of his friends, the Baskervilles, he set the book in Devon “to ward off tourists”.
We have no such qualms about bigging up the connection and as we love the good old fashioned detective novels (Agatha being the queen obviously) there are a few Holmes events this year.
First up the Conan Doyle estate has taken a leaf out of the Ian Fleming estate’s book and authorised Sherlock’s first outing as a teenager. Andrew Lane, a self-confessed Sherlockian (that’s what they’re called, honestly), took up the mantle and is coming to give us the very first low down (it’s published just the day before – so we’re super lucky.)
So if you’re a fan of Young Bond and Alex Rider, or generally just love a good mystery this might just be the one for you!
The year is 1868 and Sherlock Holmes is 14. We meet him in boarding school, as his brother Mycroft informs him that their father has suddenly been posted to India. Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire for the summer. Cue murder, kidnap, corruption and a rip roaring adventure of deduction and wit.
Over the fence:
The book trailer
Official website, which at the moment only houses the trailer, but we hope more will come with the release.
…the anticipation is over. We are of course talking about the final installment of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy. Monsters of Men has arrived! A year after we raced through The Ask and the Answer only to be left hanging on the most evil of cliffhangers (topped only by that of The Knife of Never Letting Go), we can at last discover the fate of Viola and Todd. Patrick will be in Hay to talk all things Chaos Walking and this is basically your last chance to see him do a dedicated trilogy event at Hay, as he’s moving on already with Siobhan Dowd’s unfinished manuscript. He’ll also be part of the all-star Writers’ Question Time so you’ll get the chance to quiz him on being a writer, what to read next and lot of other far better questions than the one we can think up!
A bit like recommending a book you adore to a friend (and we’ve passed Chaos Walking on countless times), our words never really live up to the experience. One thing we do usually say though is that you’ve got to keep a completely open mind, disregarding genres of fiction you think you may or may not like and JUST READ IT. For those of you who may need a little more than our word to splash out £4.30 we’ve compiled a list of links to peeps way more qualified than us to big up this series.
The Indpendent on the latest
The Guardian on the first
Walker Books – with podcasts of the first.