The Barnes Children’s Literature Festival 2023

Share this feature :


The Barnes Children’s Literature Festival returns with a week of literary A-listers

For the ninth year running, Barnes will become the children’s books capital of the UK when the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival returns from 18th May to Sunday 25 June 2023.  The completely free Primary Schools’ Programme has been expanded once again to offer 13,000 children the chance to see an author or illustrator event at five sites in Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Kingston, Twickenham Stadium and Barnes.

The UK’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival will return with a packed public programme of more than 100 author events, performances and free activities on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June. 

Public Programme – 24 and 25th June

Tickets on sale from Saturday 13 May.

Comedy legend, Sir Lenny Henry; master storyteller, Sir Michael Morpurgo; multi-award winning author and environmental campaigner Dara McAnulty; Charlie and Lola creator, Lauren Child and million-selling author and illustrator Cressida Cowell will lead the line-up at the UK’s largest dedicated children’s books event and has also designed this year’s Festival poster which will celebrate 20 years of her much-loved How To Train Your Dragon books.  Festival-favourite illustrators Axel Scheffler, who will celebrate 30 years of working with Julia Donaldson, and Lydia Monks will share tips, stories and live drawings. 

A highlight will be a very special event to celebrate the centenary of beloved Barnes’ resident Judith Kerr, who lived and worked in the village for over sixty years. Judith’s daughter Tacy Kneale will join with Judith’s dear friends, the former Children’s Laureates, Sir Michael Morpurgo and Lauren Child as they chat to Nicolette Jones, the children’s books editor of The Sunday Times, to remember her remarkable life. 

There’s plenty of fun for non-fiction fans too with superstar space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock whowill answer the big questions for children and talk about her new non-fiction book Am I Made of Stardust?  Acclaimed historian and broadcaster Tom Holland (Making History, The Rest is History etc) introduces his blockbuster retelling of the Persian Wars for children.  And Gareth P Jones will teach children how to play detective with his Solve Your Own Mystery books. 

Other confirmed authors over the two day public weekend include the middle grade marvels M.G. Leonard, Elle McNichol, Emma Carroll, Hannah Gold, Onjali Q Rauf, Christopher Edge,A F Steadman and Sophie Anderson

Some of the best known names from picture books promise to delight pre-schoolers including David Litchfield, Ed Vere, Matty Long, Nicola Davies and James & Lucy Catchpole who all have special events to keep little minds active all day long.   

Once again at Barnes, the littlest book fans are not forgotten with an appearance by Laura Henry-Allain MBE, from CBeebies’ JoJo and Gran Gran; Paddington Bear’s First Concert and a show of The Jolly Postman. 

There are shows for older children too with the London premiere of the new family opera version of Borka, based on John Burningham’s classic picture book; Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers;  Meet Pippi Longstocking; Mr Dilly’s Alice in Wonderland and workshops with Aardman Animations, mangaIllustration with Chie Kutsuwada (Tsunami Girl), and Dungeons & Dragons with Lucas Maxwell.

Social channels: @barneskidslitfest, @BarnesKidsLitFest on Facebook and @kidslitfest on Twitter.

You may also like 

Latest Issue



NEW · Issue

Sign up to the City Kids newsletter

to see our latest issues first as well as great offers and competitions.