The Federation’s annual conference, organised by one of our local children’s book groups in collaboration with the National Executive, takes place every year in spring, in different locations around the country. Talks, debates, seminars, workshops and exhibitions all feature at the conference which provides a great opportunity to hear authors and illustrators talk about their work, and to socialise with others who are passionate about children’s books and getting kids reading.

2020 conference

Logo designed by Simon James

Our next conference, Sailing Forth: Inspiring Choices, hosted by Plymouth CBG, will take place at Exeter University, from 17th – 19th April 2020.

The booking form with prices for the 2020 conference can be found here,  closing date for booking is 28th February 2020.

During the weekend we will be celebrating the Children’s Book Award’s 40th Anniversary in the company of four times winner Sir Michael Morpurgo and are offering a fantastic programme of speakers including: Claire Barker, Emma Carroll, CLPE, Chris D’Lacey, Lily Dyu, Simon James, Fiona Lumbers, Sarah McIntyre, Tom McLaughlin, Tom Palmer, Philip Reeve, Justin Somper, Jeremy Strong, Lisa Thompson, Piers Torday, and Clare Helen Welsh.

For your entertainment, there will be an evening of poetry and song on Friday and the Flash Jack Shanty Group on Saturday. Many thanks to Simon James for designing our 2020 conference logo.

A provisional programme of the 2020 conference is now available, but please note this is subject to change – Updated 12/12/19

Friday 17th April 

3.00pm Registration opens

3.30pm – 4.00pm     Tea – Barry Cunningham Chicken House

4.15pm – 5.15pm Publishers’ presentations

5.15pm – 6.00pm Publishers’ exhibition 

6.00pm – 7.00pm Dinner

7.15pm –  8.00 pm Simon James

8.15pm – 9.00pm An evening of music and poetry

9.30pm  Bar Open: An evening of music and poetry, Coral Rumble, Sue Hardy Dawson, Ed Boxall, Shauna Darling Robertson, Liz Brownlee, Dom Conlon. (More to be announced).

Saturday 18th April 

7.30am – 8.30am     Breakfast ( informal poetry workshops facilitated during breakfast)

8.00am – 8.30am Day delegate registration

8.30am – 9.00am AGM

9.00am – 9.45am Jeremy Strong

9.45am   – 10.30am Frances Hardinge

10.30am – 11.00am Coffee sponsored by Penguin Random House 

11.00am – 12.00pm Migrations panel : Petr Horacek, Tobias Hickey

12.00pm – 1.00pm Lisa Thompson, Sam Copeland

1.00pm – 2.00pm     Lunch 

2.00pm – 2.45pm Seminars 

  1. Tom Palmer, Emma Carroll: Using story to bring history alive
  2. Tom McLaughlin: Dyslexics can write!
  3. CLPE: Using picture books in a myriad of ways
  4. Clare Helen Welsh, Jenny Alexander: Stories to engage empathy

3.00pm – 3.45pm     Piers Torday

3.45pm – 4.15pm Tea sponsored by Templar

4.30pm – 5.30pm     Groups’ meeting 

6.30pm – 7.00pm Cocktails – Walker anniversary celebration event

7.00pm – 9.00pm Gala Dinner: Michael Morpurgo

9.30pm onwards Bar – Sea Shanties

Sunday 19th April 

7.30am – 8.30am     Breakfast ( Informal poetry workshops facilitated during breakfast)

8.30am – 9.00am Day delegate registration

9.00 – 9.45am Justin Somper, Chris d’Lacey in conversation with Nikki Gamble

9.45am – 10.45am   Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve 

10.45am – 11.15am Tea sponsored by Egmont

11.15am – 12.15pm Claire Barker and Fiona Lumbers, the influence of the sea in stories

12.15pm – 1.00pm Lily Dyu in conversation with Nikki Gamble

1.00pm – 2.00pm onwards Lunch.

The programme is subject to change.

2019 conference 

Last year’s conference, Opening Doors, was hosted by Lewes and Oxted CBGs, at Woldingham School, Caterham from 12th – 14th April 2019.

The speakers included Nick Sharratt, Guy Parker Reese and Francesca Simon; and the panels explored Empathy, Representation, Middle Grade Fiction and Non-Fiction. There was an evening of poetry and music and celebrations of 30 years of Elmer and 20 years of Giraffes Can’t Dance.

2018 conference

The 2018 conference, A Golden Treasury: Hidden Gems, Bright Futures, was held at Queenswood School in Hertfordshire. Held in the year of FCBG’s 50th anniversary, the very special conference programme featured former Children’s Laureates Sir Michael Morpurgo and Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

Michael Morpurgo receiving his award

Delegates enjoy socialising at mealtime

Zeb Soames, one of the speakers

The publishers’ exhibition

James Mayhew does live collaging

One of the many cakes


LP Student logo FINAL

2017 conference

The 2017 conference, Write Around the World: Broadening Horizons, took place in Reading at The Oratory School. Speakers included Chris Riddell, Lucy Worsley, Petr Horacek and Nicola Davies. Click here to see some photos of the event.

See here for past conferences.