Cheltenham Literature Festival announces its 2019 Literature for Schools programme

More than 9,000 students are expected to attend the event’s 70th anniversary in October

Cheltenham Literature Festival is inviting teachers and pupils to participate in its Literature for Schools programme during October’s 70th running of the event.

More than 9,000 students are expected to attend the mixture of live events, workshops, storytelling and professional development.

The Primary Schools programme is set to uncover bookish mysteries with a raft of authors and illustrators including Cressida Cowell, Francesca Simon, Chris Riddell, Hilary McKay, Candy Gourlay, Zanib Mian, Tim Hopgood and Katie and Kevin Tsang, alongside performance poets Joshua Seigal and Roger Stevens, plus storytelling from Atinuke.

Cressida Cowell, Francesca Simon and Chris Riddell will be among the authors and illustrators taking part

Robin Stevens, author of the bestselling Murder Most Unladylike series, returns to Cheltenham as guest curator for the Family and Schools programme. She will be revealing crime writing secrets as part of a series of mystery events which includes detective capers from Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton, and unlikely heroes with Lisa Thompson.

Authors taking part in Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils – the festival’s flagship education project, supporting teachers with a national network of free reading groups – will also be igniting creativity with writing workshops from Vashti Hardy, Joe Todd-Stanton and Emma Carroll. The first of the five new books selected for the 2019/20 programme will be revealed during the festival.


Related feature: The lost art of losing yourself in a book – children’s book author, Kate Wiseman, shares her love of getting lost in a book and how we can encourage children to do the same


The secondary schools programme seeks to empower students to explore the written and spoken word, with events and workshops from writers, poets and industry professionals, discussing everything from Shakespeare to fake news.

Authors and poets Patrice Lawrence, Kit De Waal, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Chris Powers, Anthony Anaxagorou and Alice Oseman will be taking to the stage to share their industry insight and writing tips. William Sutcliffe and Sarah Govett, Lisa Heathfield will be celebrating 70 years since the publication of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four by diving into the world of dystopias, and spoken word artist Sophia Thakur will be performing with students from the festival’s year-round outreach programmes – Beyond Words, Write Now and Amnesty’s Words that Burn – in the Young Writers’ Showcase.

Author, Robin Stevens, will be guest curator for the Family and Schools programme

The festival village and Woodland Trust Wild Wood will also feature free activities including storytellers, character meet and greets, arts and crafts, as well as the Secret Seven Mystery Trail, celebrating 70 years of the Enid Blyton series, and an Elmer and Friends Trail across Cheltenham.

Cheltenham Literature Festival will run from October 4-13. For further info visit cheltenhamfestivals/literature