This year’s Bath Children’s Literature Festival offers the biggest programme yet, including some familiar faces

Comedian Miranda Hart and Bath favourite, children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, and two former Children’s Laureates, Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell, are among the star-studded line-up for the biggest ever Bath Children’s Literature Festival, to be held at the end of September.

Once again, festival artistic directors and founders John and Gill McLay have secured a world-class collection of visiting writers and illustrators to thrill young book lovers. Their mission is to bring fun and laughter: it’s a chance for children, young people and adults to meet the creators of their literary heroes.

The 2017 Bath Children’s Literature Festival runs from Friday 29 September to Sunday 8 October, promising events suitable for the tiniest pre-reading tot right through to the often challenging, thought-provoking Young Adult teenage readership.

Headliners include the UK’s number one bestselling author Julia Donaldson, who created The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and Stick Man; Liz Pichon, the author and illustrator behind the Tom Gates series and author and illustrator of the How To Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell.

The artist who created this year’s programme cover is the author and illustrator of the Tom Gates series of books, Liz Pichon

Also coming are Bath-born writer Jacqueline Wilson, best known for her books and TV series Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather and actor and comedian Miranda Hart, who has written her first children’s book The Girl With The Lost Smile. As you’d imagine the book is big on humour and happiness, celebrating the power of the imagination and true friendship.

Festival goers will also have the chance to see Francesca Simon, Eoin Colfer, Derek Landy, Harry Hill, Ade Edmonson, David Baddiel, Nadiya Hussain, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Ben Faulks, Christian O’Connell, Greg James and Chris Smith and Gemma Cairney to name but a few.

Julia Donaldson is to introduce The Ugly Five, the characters from her new picture book with Axel Scheffler. Fans of Liz Pichon’s Tom Gates series will be able to attend an interactive event, offering reading, drawing, doodling and a live performance from Tom’s favourite band Dude3.

Cressida Cowell will launch the first of a new series of books called The Wizards Of Once – expect tales of wizards, warriors, giants and sprites. Jacqueline Wilson – always a big draw in the city of her birth – takes her audience on a journey through her life in writing. She’ll talk about some of her best-loved characters and books including Vicky Angel and The Cat Mummy, plus her newest book Wave Me Goodbye, set in the Second World War.

Great British Bake Off winner and Junior Bake Off judge, Nadiya Hussain, shares favourite recipes and stories from her new cookbook for families, Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story.

Also a familiar face on our TV screens is actor, comedian and musician, and father of three Ade Edmondson, who will talk about his love of books and what inspired him to become a writer. He will take his audience back in time with his latest book Tilly and the Time Machine.

Another comedian, David Baddiel, talks about his brilliantly funny books The Parent Agency, The Person Controller and his most recent book, AniMalcolm. And fellow TV funnyman Harry Hill, talks about his book Matt Millz, about a 12-year-old desperate to be a stand-up comedian.

Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon and author of the Arthur trilogy, Kevin Crossley-Holland, take a look at Norse mythology. The Young Adult (YA) programme includes BBC Radio 1 presenter and former fashion stylist Gemma Cairney, with pop-culture obsessive Young Adult author Amy Alward, and author of Beautiful Broken Things, Sara Barnard, who will talk about all things teen when it comes to the latest book picks.

The festival will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter book, the Philosopher’s Stone, with a quiz with the four Hogwarts houses. Children will have the chance to take part in a sorting ceremony, a game of Quidditch, potions classes and much more. Special guest is award-winning artist and illustrator for the Harry Potter books, Jim Kay, who will talk about his ideas and inspirations behind bringing the characters to life.

The Cat in the Hat is 60 years old so there’ll be a celebration of Dr Seuss’s iconic tale plus there’ll be events featuring characters such as Doctor Who, Winnie the Pooh, Elmer, Mog, Mr. Men and Molly Mischief, and the Moomins.

General ticket sales begin on Monday 10 July. Visit: bathfestivals.org.uk or call: 01225 463362.

Main image: This year’s Bath Children’s Literature Festival offers the biggest programme yet, including some familiar faces