News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Some of the biggest and best loved names in the world of children’s books will be heading to Bath this autumn for the annual Bath Children’s Literature Festival.

Organisers behind one of the biggest children’s books festivals in the world have put together a programme of more than 80 events and can’t wait to entertain you! Among the big names coming to Bath are Michael Rosen, Cressida Cowell, Rob Biddulph, Harry Hill, Andy Day, Jacqueline Wilson, Ben Miller, Robin Stevens and Liz Pichon.

Michael Rosen

Bath Children’s Literature Festival will run from Friday 27 September to Sunday 6 October. Tickets go on general sale on Friday 12 July. There will be priority booking for patrons on Tuesday 9 July. Friends, sponsors and Waterstones card holders can buy tickets from Wednesday 10 July.

Both weekends of the festival will be filled with lots of interactive events with the chance to hear your favourite authors and illustrators talking about the stories you love. The Schools Programme during the week will also be hosting some top names, with children from 44 schools in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire taking part.

More than 1,000 free tickets have been given to children in State schools and every single child who attends the Schools Programme with a free ticket will be given a free book.

The festival hub this year will be The Assembly Rooms, where official booksellers Waterstones will be setting up a special festival bookshop. The Waterstones bookshop and café in Milsom Street will also be running events for families during the festival, including setting up The Illustrators Cafe during both festival weekends, featuring free how-to-draw events and activities with four illustrators in residence, Alice Tait, Luke Scriven, Conor Busuttil and Rhian Wright.

Look who’s coming

  • Michael Rosen, one of our best loved children’s poets and authors and a former Children’s Laureate. He will delight young and old alike with many of our old favourite verses, along with gems from his new collection Out of this World: The Weirdest Poems of All Time.
Rob Biddulph
  • Rob Biddulph, holder of the Guinness world record for hosting the world’s biggest draw-along. The fast-firing illustrator’s family-friendly show will include silliness, laughter and the chance to draw along with Rob as he introduces new characters from Follow The Fox.
Cressida Cowel
Cressida Cowell
  • Cressida Cowell, creator of brilliant and fantastical fantasy worlds, the author of How To Train Your Dragon, continues to win new fans. She’ll be sharing news of her latest adventure series, Which Way Round the Galaxy and will be illustrating live on stage.
  • Hamza Yassin, wildlife presenter, camaraman and CBeebies star, knows how much we love fun facts about the animal world. He’ll be leading a fun session and sharing his own adventures in Hamza’s Wild World.
  • Robin Stevens will be celebrating ten years of her Murder Most Unladylike series with us as she introduces The Most Unladylike Puzzle Book and offering her legions of fans more top tips for mystery solving.
  • Actor and comedian Ben Miller has become a hugely popular children’s author, with fantasy books that parents and children love to read. The writer who brought us The Boy Who Made the World Disappear and The Day I Fell Into a Fairytale, will be sharing news of his new adventure, Robin Hood Aged 10 ¾.
  • Anyone who’s had fun drawing along with Tom Gates, will be delighted to hear that his creator Liz Pichon is making a visit to Bath for the festival to talk about Tom’s newest fun-filled book, Ha! Ha! Hilarious.
  • She was born in Bath and always has a place in our hearts, so we’re delighted that Dame Jacqueline Wilson will be joining us to talk about some of our favourite characters from her many bestselling books and introducing her new title, The Star of the Show.
  • Funny men Harry Hill, Russell Kane and Richard Ayoade will all be bringing a lot of laughs to the festival.
  • There are themed events too, featuring favourites for all ages, from the charming tales of Peter Rabbit and the glorious Gruffalo, to an evening of Doctor Who events with some of the stars from the long-running series. There will also be a chance to make your own comic, with The Beano and enjoy drawing, savage stories and foul facts with illustrator Martin Brown of the legendary Horrible Histories series.
  • We’ll be keeping a keen eye on the Paralympics in Paris this summer (August 28 to September 8) as Jonnie Peacock is competing. He’ll be heading to Bath for the festival where he will be inspiring us to chase our dreams and think big!
  • Look out too for American writer Megan Whelan Turner, author of The Thief, on a rare visit to the UK. The creator of the Inkheart series, Cornelia Funke will be joining us from Germany, Katie Kirby, creator of the fabulous Lottie Brooksseries will be paying a visit, as will legendary illustrator Axel Scheffler, the artist who drew Zog and the Gruffalo.

Get your tickets

You can book tickets to Bath Children’s Literature Festival online at; by phone, 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 01225 463362; or in person during those hours at Bath Box Office counter, 1a Forum Buildings, St James’ Parade, Bath BA1 1UG.

Schools Programme

The festival’s Schools Programme takes place across the weekdays of the festival and is specially curated for schools and home-schooled families. This features 14 events jam-packed with all kinds of reading delights, opening with Katherine Rundell, author of the super popular Impossible Creatures and Rooftoppers. It welcomes A.F. Steadman with her blockbuster Skandar series, Adam Kay and Henry Paker’s hilarious new fiction series, incredible explorer Preet Chandi, illustrator Ed Vere and many more.

The outreach programme goes into schools with creative writing workshops for Year 7 and 8 pupils with some of middle-grade fiction’s finest writers, and workshops with illustrators for GCSE and A-Level students to find out more about working in the industry. The Schools Programme is supported by the Coles-Medlock Foundation, St John’s Foundation and Centurion Coaches. 

For more information and to receive our Schools Programme brochure or check out the website. 

Festival founders

This autumn’s line-up has been put together by John and Gill McLay, who founded the Bath Children’s Literature Festival in 2007.  Festival director John said, “Gill and I are delighted to have programmed the 2024 Bath Children’s Literature Festival, after a couple of years away during which time we missed the festival we founded in 2007 very much.

“We have a strong line-up of established superstar authors and illustrators, who we hope will delight the region’s bookworms in an extensive public programme of events and for schools. This festival is all about having fun – a place you’ll get to meet your literary heroes and be inspired to make and create your own stories. We can’t wait until September to share it all.”

Gill added, “Post-lockdown, we are hearing more and more about children’s reading abilities falling and the learning gap that Covid has left behind. As a result, it feels more important than ever to host live events with authors and illustrators to help children discover the joy in reading and creativity and offer families the opportunity to ignites their children’s imagination with books.”

With thanks

 The Bath Festival is supported by sponsors, including Bath BID, Bath Recreation, Bath Spa University, Hawker Joinery, Kingswood School, Royal High School, TooFar Media, University of Bath and Wessex Water. Its partners are Bath Box Office, Waterstones, Scala Radio, Visit Bath/Visit West, Total Guide to Bath, Bath Spa University, Gainsborough Bath Spa, The Coles-Medlock Foundation, The Roper Family Charitable Trust and Bath Forum.

Thank you also to Bath and North East Somerset Council, Mayden, Andrew Fletcher, Wera and William Hobhouse, Elaine Marson, Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust, James and Hiroko Sherwin, Colin Skellett, Lady Evelyn Strasburger and Ian Tarr.

For full programme details visit

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