The line-up for the fifth annual PONTYPRIDD CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL is announced ahead of this May’s celebration of children’s literature and reading for pleasure. The festival is taking place from Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th May. 

Big names and local talent from the worlds of children’s fiction, non-fiction, illustration and storytelling will be taking part in the festival, which is being held in locations across Pontypridd with a jam-packed programme of events filled with fun for all the family.

Festival-goers will be the first to be introduced  to The Mab, a brand-new bilingual retelling of the ancient Welsh tales of The Mabinogi for today’s children. Edited by inaugural Children’s Laureate Wales, Eloise Williams and children’s author and broadcaster, Matt Brown with a foreword penned by actor Michael Sheen, The Mab’s official launch will coincide with the opening of THE MAB TRAIL, a permanent art and storytelling trail located across Pontypridd. 

Avid story-hunters will be able to discover all 11 tales of The Mab, which will be rooted forevermore  in Pontypridd’s soil with interactive pieces of public art in the form of story stones with images from The Mab by illustrator Max Low. Trail-goers are able to take rubbings of the stones, encouraging them to walk the stories of Wales and to create some new ones of their own, inspired by Pontypridd. The Mab Trail is sponsored by Pontypridd Town Council in partnership with Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival and aims to promote a love of reading and encourage creativity, inspire new storytellers and artists and nurture a love of Wales’ landscape, literature and traditions. 

The festival line-up also includes best-selling author Lesley Parr, who’ll be talking about her latest book When the War Came Home with CBBC Newsround and BBC Wales presenter Alex Humphreys. Popular writer Laura James will inspire budding young journalists with her new book Newshounds, The Puppy Problem and Wales rugby legend JAMES HOOK will be talking to David Brayley about his award-winning series of children’s books, Chasing a Rugby Dream. Wales’ Children’s Laureate, CONNOR ALLEN will be leading a workshop for youngsters centred around creative expression and empowerment. 

In another first this year, the festival has been working with local schools to create Young Readers Panels, the members of which will play a vital part in the festival. Pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Trerobart Primary School and Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pont Sion Norton will be interviewing authors and leading Q&A sessions to find out the things we all want to know about our favourite books and the people who write them.

That’s just a flavour of what’s on offer, with more exciting author events, a foraging adventure with Adele Nozedar of Brecon Beacons Foraging, an illustration session and arts and crafts activities, including sessions on making your own book. Adults will also be able to pick up top story writing tips in a Writing for Children masterclass given by Wales Book of the Year shortlisted author and inaugural Children’s Laureate Wales, Eloise Williams.

Eloise Williams

The Director of Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival, Cerith Mathias told us…….

‘We’re thrilled to announce this year’s line-up, our biggest and most ambitious yet. Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival celebrates Wales’ incredible storytellers as well as showcasing fantastic authors from across the UK. We’re very excited to be working in partnership with Pontypridd Town Council to bring The Mab Trail to Pontypridd, permanently linking Wales’ most ancient stories with not only the town but the festival too in the hope of inspiring the next generation of writers and artists.’

Eloise Williams, Children’s Laureate Wales 2019 -2021, who has taken part in the festival since its launch, said……

‘I love Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival and am delighted to be involved again this year. It’s such a brilliant opportunity to highlight the importance of children’s literature and reading for pleasure. The line up of amazing events and thrilling activities are sure to stoke young people’s creativity and set their imaginations on fire. What a wonderful celebration of children’s books!’

Little bookworms can now sign-up for events, with the full programme and ticketing links available on the festival website. 

Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival Co-founder Jeff Baxter, said……

‘We’re passionate about Pontypridd and our community. It’s important to us that the festival really engages with children and young people and demonstrates both the benefits and the joy of reading for pleasure. We’re pleased to be working with schools in the area to involve the children in the process of the festival and immerse them in the wonderful world of books.’

Louby Lou

Tickets are available on the festival’s website from today, with a festival bookshop run by partner organisation and local independent bookshop Storyville Books. 

Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival will be held across a variety of locations in the town. The Festival Hub is located in Pontypridd Museum, with events also taking place in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd Library and Storyville Books. 

The festival is held in partnership with Pontypridd Town Council and Storyville Books, Pontypridd’s independent bookshop.

you can register for tickets on the festival website HERE. And the Festival books available from Storyville Books: HERE.

For updates, follow their socials below……

  • Twitter: @pontykidsbooks #PontyKidsBookFest
  • Facebook: Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival
  • Instagram: @pontykidsbookfest

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