Bishop’s Stortford College’s Festival of Literature in Retrospect

03 Jun 2015

The Sixth Bishop’s Stortford College Festival of Literature was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone at the College. With guests ranging from the controversial David Starkey, to the coastal adventurer Nicholas Crane and political columnist Steve Richards, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

As well as some fantastic guest speakers, there was plenty of opportunity for other local schools to get involved with the Bishop’s Stortford Picture Book Award 2015. Fifteen primary and secondary schools cast over 1900 votes to pick the 2015 winner out of a shortlist of nine titles. “Oi Frog” written by Kes Gray and illustrated by Jim Field was this year’s worthy winner and was the clear favourite in seven of the voting schools. Kes’ funny, fast paced rhyming book had pupils in fits of laughter as he read it aloud. Cats sit on mats, pumas sit on satsumas and, before he left the stage, he revealed a Kes sits on his Fez to much amusement!

In second place, which was clearly a secondary school favourite, was Chris Haughton’s “Shh! We have a Plan”, and in third place was Alex T Smith’s “Foxy and Egg”.

Award winning illustrator Nick Sharratt hosted the event and the College were delighted Peter Bentley, Kes Gray, James Mayhew and Richard Byrne were able to attend the award ceremony along with 200 pupils from the College and local schools who had voted.

A new addition to the Festival programme this year was Harry Potter Book Night where the Prep School celebrated everything Potter! Excitement began when invitations were sent by owl post, causing great excitement.

After being grouped into Hogwarts houses by wearing the Sorting Hat, Harry Potter themed games, including a version of Quidditch, earned all the pupils house points. Wizarding Snacks and Pumpkin Juice was followed by a quiz and the winning House, Slytherin, was awarded an Owl trophy.

The hall had been fantastically decorated in true Hogwart’s style; pupils could even pop by Ollivanders for a new wand or visit Gringott’s Bank for some chocolate coins! It was not just the Prep School pupils who enjoyed themselves as several Senior School helpers got into the Potter spirit.

Festival Co-Ordinator and Prep School Librarian, Rosie Pike, said: “The highlight of this year was to see the excitement on the children’s faces at so many of the events during the week. The youngest were spell bound by Jan Blake’s captivating storytelling; pupils cheered loudly as the winner of the Picture Book Award was announced, and Sixth Formers were moved from tears to laughter by Luke Wright’s poetry.

For in this way we can hope to nurture a future generation of story–loving, fact-discovering and poetry-guzzling visitors to Festival events for many years to come.”
Reviews and images that capture the spirit of the Festival are available in the Events area of the College website.

Overall, this event would not have been possible without the support of our Festival Partners; our thanks go to GQ Wealth Management, Handlesbanken, Hawkins\Brown, London City Airport, Tees Law, Savills, Douglas, Frobishers and The Mixed Case.
Thanks also go to the Herts & Essex Observer for their extensive and continued coverage of all the events before, during and after the Festival.