Culture & Creative IndustriesNews

The Stratford Literary Festival is excited to launch a free-to-access page of online video content featuring bestselling authors and illustrators – aimed at young children and parents who are at home because of the Covid-19 outbreak. 


Those appearing include: Jeanne Willis, author of over 150 books, reading The Bog Baby; the popular author-illustrator Steven Lenton reading Princess Daisy and the Dragon; the official World Book Day illustrator Rob Biddulph teaching us how to draw Gregosaurus and the Odd Dog Out; Sarah McIntyre giving a masterclass on drawing Grumpycorn; Lydia Monks, illustrator of several of Julia Donaldson’s books, with a lesson on illustrating her Ladybirds; Tracey Corderoy reading her charming story Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam; and award-winning author Philip Ardagh showing us how to draw a rabbit from Bunnies on the Bus.


Having been forced to cancel the 2020 Spring Festival due to the pandemic, Stratford Literary Festival is committed to continuing its activities, particularly in relation to encouraging literacy and a love of reading in children everywhere. Under the initiative ‘Sharing Stories’, the Festival has for several years been encouraging an inter-generational exchange of thoughts, ideas, and stories, through its diverse work in schools, care homes, and prisons.


In light of this, the Festival recruited a selection of successful children’s authors and illustrators —including several who had been due to visit schools in March as part of the Schools’ Festival — to create engaging videos for children in which they read their stories, show viewers how to draw their favourite characters, and give an insight into the process of creating their books.


Available on the Festival’s website at, the resource launches today (30th March) with eight fun videos already available. Further uploads are coming soon from more well-known children’s authors and illustrators. A link is provided with each video for parents to buy the book online from Waterstones, the Festival’s bookselling partner.


‘These are difficult and stressful times for families, many of whom are having to juggle working from home with having their children home from school or childcare,’ says Festival Director, Annie Ashworth. ‘There’s masses of brilliant creative stuff going on, especially from children’s authors and illustrators, and we hope that by providing this resource in one place, we can help to lighten to burden of constantly keeping young children occupied through this time, as well as give parents one place to go for a variety of different and engaging videos. Watch this space for more exciting content coming from authors in the next few weeks!’


The Stratford Literary Festival will be holding its Winter Weekend between 20th and 22nd November, which will feature some authors who were unable to appear this Spring.


Photo: Philip Ardagh