The Big Malarkey Festival: Teatime Taster sessions

The Big Malarkey Festival of children’s literature kicks off today with a brilliant programme of hands-on workshops, interactive performances, magical spaces to explore and chances for the kids to meet their favourite authors and illustrators. Taking place in East Park, the space will be transformed into a tented village where imaginations and creativity can run wild.

While tickets to this weekend’s festivities sold out very quickly, there’s still plenty to get involved with this week and you won’t need a ticket to get in on the action. Simply turn up between 3.30pm and 5.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and prepare for a whole lot of fun.

With so much to do and see, we’ve rounded up a few of the Teatime Taster highlights for the week.

MONDAY 26 JUNE – FUNNY BONE – 3.30pm-5.30pm

This month, the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate position was awarded to bestselling author and illustrator Lauren Child, who will join previous titleholders Chris Riddell, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake in the League of Laureates.

You may recognise Lauren’s world-famous books and TV series Charlie and Lola, or the equally-brilliant book series Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort, and now you’ll be able to meet her as she stops by the Big Malarkey tent from 4pm to 5pm.

If the children fancy mastering a new skill at the festival, there’s a workshop in Funny Bones comedy characters running in the Live & Kicking tent from 4pm to 4.45pm, an Illustrated Joke drawing masterclass in the Make It, Take It tent from 4pm to 5.30pm and a chance to contribute to a giant Hull comic strip with Hello Hull creators Studio Anorak in its tent from 3.50pm to 5.30pm.

TUESDAY 27 JUNE – CLIFFHANGER – 3.30pm-5.30pm

Adventure is the theme of the day, and what better way to celebrate than to meet Young Bond author Steve Cole as he pops into the festival for a storytelling masterclass (complete with his trusty ukulele) and book signing. Steve will be hanging out in the Big Malarkey tent from 4pm to 5pm, so be sure to drop in.

In the Makerspace, the kids will be bringing characters to life in a Mini Cliffhangers stop-frame animation workshop with author and illustrator Andy Sanders from 4pm to 5.30pm, while Ten Foot Dance Company will help them unleash their super powerful self in a performance activity at the Live & Kicking tent from 4.45pm to 5.30pm.

THURSDAY 29 JUNE – HIGH DRAMA – 3.30pm-5.30pm

Thursday is all about drama, thrills and suspense at The Big Malarkey Festival, so whether your child is a budding writer, poet, actor or illustrator, there’ll be plenty to keep them entertained.

Studio Anorak is inviting young contributors to work on its fictional newspaper, The Hull Times, in their tent from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, whilst over in the Makerspace the kids can get to grips with creative writing using the Twine storybuilding app to create their own page-turner from 4pm to 5.30pm.

Performance poet Adisa will perform his hilarious poems with help from the audience in the Jabberwocky tent from 4pm to 5pm and in the Live & Kicking tent at 4.45pm to 5.30pm, local playwright Dave Windass will bring families together in an improv workshop to create their very own epic drama.


Bringing the Teatime Tasters to a close is Friday’s myths and fairy tales event. Dark Horse Puppetry will bring creatures from the pages of children’s books to life in Maria Macaroni’s Marvellous Menagerie from 4pm to 5.30pm. The Little Larkeys tent will become a musical haven from 4pm to 5pm as Hull’s Hekima comes prepared with an array of instruments in a glorious song, game and storytelling session inspired by African folklore.

Blackberry Blue author Jamila Gavin will be chatting to visitors and signing her latest book in the Big Malarkey tent from 4pm to 5pm or if the kids are more into their comics, Phoenix cartoonist Neill Cameron will show them how to bring comic stories to life in the Make It, Take It tent.

The Big Malarkey Festival of children’s literature takes place from Monday 26 June to Sunday 2 July in East Park. Discover the full festival line-up and plan your family day out.