Chipping Norton Literary Festival

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I was lucky enough to be invited to the Chipping Norton Literary Festival (for the second successive year) to read to children. It ran from the 24th to the 27th of April and it was an absolute blast.

The festival is a belter. It is built with so much love and care. The atmosphere is terrific and the whole community is utterly engaged. Led by the indefatigable and always-inspiring Clare Mackintosh, the festival hosts a brilliant range of writers for a diverse audience. It was humbling to be on the same bill as Kate Adie, Lauren Child, Korky Paul, Laura Bates and Kate Mosse.

Clickety Books formed part of the Schools Programme that kicks off the festival. I was kindly invited to play, I mean *tell stories* at the ACE centre. It was a joy to prance about and effectively show off in front of a room of adorable under fives. I also chatted to parents, cooed at babies and wolfed down a communal (and very tasty) credit crunch lunch at the local football club community room. It was brilliant.

It warmed me to see so many children included in the festival. Books need readers and readers need books. Reading stories to giggling toddlers is the perfect and very apt way to begin a festival.

Clare Mackintosh said, 'This year's ChipLitFest had a strong focus on children's literacy. Bringing children into contact with authors has a dramatic effect on their approach to reading, which is why our schools programme is so important to us. We were delighted with the response from the thirteen schools involved in the programme this year and have already started planning for next year.'

I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped me at the festival. There were A LOT of laughs. Special thanks to Caroline Watson, Merilyn Davies, Emma Walker, Helen Ruff and Emily Barr for making it all run so smoothly.

I sincerely hope that Clickety Books are involved again next hear. Hint hint. And look out for Clare Mackintosh's debut novel (for grown ups) in October 2014.