Bookfeast Schools Festival

Bookfeast event with Kristina Stephenson at the North Wall, Oxford

Bookfeast event with Kristina Stephenson at the North Wall, Oxford

The Bookfeast Schools Festival is an annual event held at various interesting and inspiring venues in Oxford. In the past these have included Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers Museum, the Weston Library, the Ashmolean, the North Wall and the Story Museum.  In 2017 we are excited to be moving to an Oxford College – the Festival will kindly be hosted by St Hugh’s College.

Taking place over four days in May, we aim to offer around 2,000 primary school pupils the opportunity to meet top children’s authors, illustrators and poets. With bookselling managed by Blackwell’s Oxford, children are able to buy books at the events and have them signed by the author.

In addition to the Schools Festival Bookfeast organises a number of one-off author events around the county at other times of the year, ensuring that around another 500 children can listen to and meet authors.

Bookfeast Schools Festival 2017

The 2017 Bookfeast Schools Festival is to take place from 16th-19th May at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. The programme explores the theme of “Character” and we have invited a range of authors and illustrators who have between them created a dazzling array of memorable, inspiring and lovable characters:

Claire Barker, Suzanne Barton, Simon Cherry, Jo Cotterill, Abi Elphinstone, Teresa Heapy,

Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Yasmeen Ismail, Laura James, Pip Jones, Cas Lester,

Tom Moorhouse & Holly Swain, Piers Torday, Clara Vulliamy & Polly Faber,

Gary Northfield, Michael Rosen and Laura Wood

You can find out about these authors & illustrators and their events in the Festival Application Pack which is available as a download here. Please apply for tickets using this application pack.

Bookfeast Schools Festival 2016

The 2016 Bookfeast Schools Festival was a huge success involving around 1800 pupils from 22 Oxfordshire primary schools. We ran 16 author sessions during Festival week including two Shakespeare Focus events to tie in with Oxford’s own celebrations to mark the death of Shakespeare. In addition, to extend the reach of the Bookfeast Festival, arts organisation Flash of Splendour delivered 5 unique Shakespeare workshops for children in Y5-6 at schools around the county. Around 400 children also took part in additional and enriching experiences after their author sessions – a creative writing trail (Pitt Rivers) and tours of two exhibitions: Animal (Story Museum) and Shakespeare’s Dead (Weston Library).

Authors taking part in the Bookfeast Festival this year included: Atinuke, Sarah Courtauld, Julia Golding, Adam & Charlotte Guillain, A.F. Harrold, Cas Lester, Gill Lewis, M.G. Leonard, Christopher Lloyd, Lauren St John, Robin Stevens, Sean Taylor, Sam Watkins, Marcia Williams and Katherine Woodfine.

Events varied from ‘sing-alongs’ with pirates to African storytelling, practical sessions on how to write crime fiction and mysteries, and stories featuring talking beetles, Jekyll and Hyde teachers, dragons, unconventional fairies and dogs of all shapes and sizes. One courageous author brought along her own inspiration for her latest series – Murphy the Leonberger (see photos below) who wowed his audience with his passion for sausages and his high fives.

Bookfeast would like to thank all the wonderful and inspiring venues for hosting Festival events: Pitt Rivers Museum, The Story Museum, the Weston Library, the North Wall and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. These venues add so much to the children’s overall Festival experience, and the authors love visiting them too!

Such a lot to inspire them! Especially good to see those children who might not have visited or experienced such a setting so excited and inspired.” Teacher, Beckley Primary School

“Thank you for organising such a wonderful event!” Teacher, Fringford Primary School

“Very interactive, fun and at the right level for the children. Would recommend!” Teacher, St Barnabas Primary School

“I enjoyed seeing Shakespeare in comic strip form and having the opportunity to ask Marcia questions.”                                Pupil,  St Christopher’s Primary School

“I loved meeting Murphy the dog and seeing him perform his tricks on stage.” Y3 pupil, Holy Trinity School, Chipping Norton

Gill Murphy with Murphy

Gill Lewis and Murphy at the 2016 Bookfeast Festival

Caz Lester 2016

Cas Lester signing books at the Bookfeast 2016 Festival


For more information about the Bookfeast Schools Festival contact




For Bookfeast Festival 2015 competition winners and winning entries, click here

Bookfeast Schools Festival thanks our sponsors:

Blackwell's For Learning For Life