Bishop’s Stortford College – Festival of Literature 2016

30 Mar 2016

Over the past seven years, Bishop’s Stortford College has been hosting a Festival of Literature for the whole community to enjoy. The aim is to fuel a passion for all things literary in young and old alike; there is always something for everyone.

This year included performances from Germaine Greer speaking about the Disappearing Woman; Grumpy Old Man Arthur Smith offered song, poetry and a little from his acclaimed memoir My Name is Daphne Fairfax and MasterChef Semi-Finalist Saira Hamilton who demonstrated her food before her audience enjoyed eating it.

Performance Poet Sara Hirsh moved audiences with her slam-winning pieces; Julie Summers talked Fashion on the Ration with the help of some models, including a lady in a dress made of parachute silk; author Sophie Hannah spoke with New Statesman Editor Jason Cowley about her first stand-alone thriller A Game for All the Family as well as touching on her new book, while adventurer Alastair Humphreys championed the Microadventure from sleeping under the stars to his walk around the M25.

The Festival included the Senior House Reading Competition, which was judged by internally famous poet Daljit Nagra – his text is part of the A Level syllabus which gave pupils the chance to engage with the text on a deeper level.

There was also much for the Prep School to engage with. Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, spoke about his book the Astounding Broccoli Boy –one Prep School pupil, Martha, even made Frank’s books into a cake for his arrival.

Emily MacKenzie, author and illustrator of Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit the Book Thief, gave Prep School pupils a drawing Ralfy masterclass as well as speaking about her influences from Beatrix Potter to Burglar Bill. Pupils experimented with pencil drawings and loved the fact that they were able to actually draw Ralfy by the end of the session.

Author Lauren Child was a great addition to the Festival. She talked about how she created her picture books with the younger pupils, demonstrating this with stick on fabrics and drawing Lola and how her work has since evolved into stories featuring Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort.

The annual Bishop’s Stortford Picture Book Award was another great event. Pupils 13 local secondary and primary schools, as well as the College, voted for their favourite Picture Book from a shortlist selected by judges at the College. This year Kitchen Disco was the clear winner with over 40% of the vote. The illustrator, Al Murphy, gleefully accepted his award.

The 2 Steves, Kes Gray and Ben Haggarty all entertained the pupils and engaged them in the wonders of reading and storytelling.

The Festival would not have been possible without the support of our Festival Partners: Handelsbanken, Hutton Construction, Kinetics, London City Airport, Purbrooks and Savills. Thanks to the Friends for helping during the week, and to the Herts & Essex Observer for their extensive and continued coverage of all the events before, during and after the Festival.