Big Malarkey Festival: Line-up announced

Here’s one for the kids – big and small! The line-up for Hull’s very first children’s literature festival has been announced and we’re all in for a treat. Bringing together writers, illustrators, cartoonists, performers and musicians, the festival will celebrate literature and creativity in all of its forms. And best of all, tickets are free.

Taking place in East Park from 26 June to 2 July, The Big Malarkey Festival is for everyone aged 0 – 16 years to enjoy along with their family and friends. Hull’s Scrapstore will help to transform East Park into Malarkey Park, a wondrous tented village where creativity comes alive, featuring an Under 5s area, performance spaces, digital hub, bookshops and plenty more.

So, what’s in store?

The Big Malarkey Festival will kick off with a five-day schools programme featuring talks with authors and hands-on workshops in writing, illustration, model-making and digital art. With a different theme each day, from Cliffhanger to Myth and Magic, imaginations will run wild.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, a series of after-school Teatime Taster sessions will be open to the public from 3.30pm to 5.30pm. There’ll be chances to meet authors, watch exciting performances or dabble with something new at a workshop. The newly-crowned Waterstones Children’s Laureate will also be around for a book signing and Q&A on Monday 26 June.

The festival will truly come alive over the weekend, with the main public programme taking place between 10am and 5.30pm. Sit the kids down for a story, get to grips with digital illustration or have a good giggle at a comedic performance in one of five magical tents. The possibilities are endless!

An impressive collection of creatives have signed up to take part in this brand new literature extravaganza. Expect to see:

Author talks from Jeremy Strong, A F Harrold, Steve Cole, Tanya Landman, Jamila Gavin, Nick Arnold, Akala, Julian Clary, David Roberts, Lydia Monks and Annabel Pitcher.

Poetry with Rob Gee, Simon Punrucker, Adisa and Park Bench Poets

Puppetry with Dark Horse Puppetry and Indigo Moon

Storytelling from Discover Storytelling Centre, Just Soph, Mudpie Arts, Hekima, Broccolily, Settle Stories, Travelling Treasury, Karvan and Mambo Jambo

Drama workshops with Ten Foot Dance Company, Dave Windass

Illustration with Neill Cameron, Calvin Innes, Andy Sanders, Shoo Rayner, Hull School of Art and Design

If that’s not enough, everyone is invited to the festival finalé, a costumed Storybook Ball. There’ll be opportunities throughout the day to get crafty by making costumes and headdresses with Hull Carnival Arts, so there’s no excuse not to get stuck in.

The Big Malarkey Festival has been made possible with funding from the James Reckitt Library Trust, Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and Hull Culture and Leisure, whose Library Service is organising the festival. It is hoped that The Big Malarkey will become an annual event in Hull’s bustling festival calendar.

Ellen Bianchini, The Big Malarkey Festival Director, said: “We want this festival to inspire young people to engage with and celebrate children’s literature in order to stimulate their own creativity. Hull has witnessed so many talented writers, illustrators and performers and we hope this festival, and festivals in years to come, will help to enthuse others to create wonderful stories.”

Martin Green, Director at Hull UK City of Culture 2017, said: “There is an abundance of talented young people in this city and I think this event is going to be spectacular, not only in terms of what festival-goers will experience, but what impact it will have on the creativity of our young people. We want them to read, write, draw, illustrate, visit their library, tell stories and use their imaginations.

The Big Malarkey Festival runs from Monday 26 June to Sunday 2 July and is free. After-school Teatime Taster sessions take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and are unticketed. Free tickets for the Saturday and Sunday will be available online from 10am on Tuesday 16 May.