Blackburn Children’s Literature Festival


About the festival

Due to COVID19 restrictions the Schools Fest will be streamed live from Blackburn Central Library from the Hornby Theatre.

Children’s Literature Festivals is the brainchild of local-born author Christina Gabbitas. There are over 350 literature festivals in the UK, with less than 10% solely centred on children. With falling literacy levels and England being ranked bottom of the table in the developed world for literacy amongst 16-19 year olds in a 2016 report , Christina thinks we should be concentrating on children in early years and primary to instil interest them in an interest and a love of books.

Blackburn Children’s Literature Festival is set to encourage children from all cultures , backgrounds, and abilities, to read and write.

We believe that reading is not just fantastic educationally, but socially and emotionally too.

What’s On

Virtual Schools Fest at Blackburn Library 17th & 18th September 2020

All sixty three primary schools in Blackburn and Darwen are being invited to Zoom into read aloud interactive sessions bu our authors and illustrators.


Local schools in Blackburn and Darwen are being invited to attend read aloud interactive sessions streamed live from Blackburn Central Library.

Each year group will be treated to session with an author appropriate to their age group from our featured authors and illustrators..


Families and Communities Day at Blackburn Library Saturday & other venues to be confirmed, due to COVID19 restrictions 19th September – more details coming soon…


Ursula Hurst & Nigel Womack


Winners of the People’s Book Prize Children’s 2020, published by Poems & Pictures Publishing.

Nigel’s creative expression knows no bounds. He is a writer and poet. His entrepreneurial skills and commitment to following his passion have brought him success and respect.Nigel will be performing with Ursula Hurst with their ‘Bea Story’.  


Ursula Hurst is a professional illustrator and mural artist based in Lancashire.
She runs art workshops, coordinates community festivals, paints large scale murals and illustrates children’s books.


 She has illustrated for many wonderful authors around the country and loves the challenge of creating artwork to draw in reluctant readers. The first book she illustrated, The Angry Giant, was a finalist in the People’s Book Prize.  

   Matt Goodfellow


  Matt will be dazzling you fantastically with his latest collection of poems and beyond, with audience participation.


 Stuart Reid 


 Come along to read aloud interactive sessions about yucky, funny and imaginative Gorgeous George stories.  


 Dom Conlon 

 Dom will inspire you with his poetic talent  and introduce his latest publications, including Leap Hare Leap – that captures the mythic beauty of hares and introduces children to bio-diversity, environment and predators.




  St Andrews School Choir


Come and listen to the wonderful voices of children from St Andrews Primary School.




World Book Night 17th September – Blackburn Library with Christina Gabbitas

Christina will be talking about her story commissioned by Office of Police & Crime Commissioner Humberside – No More Knives


Christina will be talking about her publication No More Knives.

Due to COVID19 restrictions of tickets will be in place.


Owing to the success of her children’s book Share Some Secrets that encourages children to speak out, Christina was contacted by the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioners for Humberside to work in partnership to produce a story that could help to educate children and young adults on the topics of county lines, grooming and knife crime.The story is about a group of friends who are groomed into county lines and lured into delivering packages to different areas via public transport and taxis, with the promise of payment. They soon realise that their new-found ‘friends’ are not all they seem. One of the group, Jamie, regrets picking up a knife for protection.

We will also have a limited number of free copies of A.A. Dhand’s Darkness Rising, a crime novel set in Bradford, with a drugs gang theme.

Meet the authors involved

With thanks to