A guest post by Clara Vulliamy

winninglogoIf you had the chance to plan a festival where you could invite any children’s authors or illustrators to attend, who would you ask to join you?

Answering this question for real was one of the most enjoyable and exciting parts of preparing for our Festival of Children’s Literature taking place in November. Straight away I knew of one particular author/illustrator who I wanted to invite. For me, this author/illustrator is the embodiment of pure enthusiasm and inspirational generosity, and her books capture young childhood delights with acuity and charm. I am, of course, talking about Clara Vulliamy.

From 11.30 on the day of the Festival, Clara will be hosting an exciting mini puppet toy theatre workshop based on Bubble and Squeak, a book specially written for her to illustrate, by James Mayhew (who will also be at the Festival). I just know this is going to be a session full of delights, and – most probably – utterly gorgeous haberdashery!

In the run up to the Festival I asked Clara to give us an insight into her session and here’s what she had to say…

I was so chuffed and delighted to be invited to take part in the FCBG Festival of Children’s Literature in November. What an honour!

I’ll be presenting Bubble & Squeak…


…the first book in a new series written by James Mayhew and illustrated by me. As well as reading the story and doing some drawing to entertain the audience, there will be a chance for everyone to roll up their sleeves and get crafty with a lovely workshop activity.

The day’s events seem to have a theatrical flavour, so Bubble & Squeak – a story set in a travelling theatre show – is a perfect fit! I’d love to invite you (literally) behind the scenes for a little peak at my initial thoughts.

I have taken a humble kitchen-sized matchbox…


looked again at the book for inspiration, done some scribbling, head-scratching, cutting and sticking…


(the festival organisers might be reassured to know I’ll be doing the DANGEROUS cutting myself at home beforehand!)


And – yes! I think it will work! A mini matchbox theatre for each child to put on their very own Bubble & Squeak show…


I’ll bring some mini Bubbles and mini Squeaks to get the cast of the show underway, but some blanks too, for the young artists to invent their own characters. And plenty of bits and bobs to decorate the outside of the theatre.


So, for a happy hour of miniature marvelousness with Bubble, Squeak and me – I do hope I’ll see you there!


You can see why I think this is going to be a corker of a session! You can buy tickets for Clara’s workshop (£5 for children, free for accompanying adults; all children must be accompanied) here, or in person in Birmingham at The Box (in the new Library of Birmingham).

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