Statement from Bath Festivals: 

It is with heavy hearts that we have taken the decision to cancel the 2020 Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The continuing concern and uncertainty about the spread of the Coronavirus and what this means for social distancing and best hygiene practices means that we cannot risk the health of our authors, illustrators, interviewers, audience, staff, volunteers, sponsors and the community. We had hoped that we could work with our venue partners to safely open in the autumn but the uncertainty around whether this will be possible and the advanced logistical planning needed to put on our events has led us to our decision. 

We are so very disappointed; we were hugely excited about the line-up of wonderful children’s authors, illustrators and storytellers for this year’s Festival and are so sorry not to be able to welcome them to Bath this year. 

We had not had the opportunity to announce our public programme but can now share that we were thrilled that the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell was on board as our guest curator. Indeed, the overall theme of the festival was inspired by Cressida’s motivating Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter, with events planned to reflect many of the 10 points on this. 

We have been saddened by the cancellation of the many book festivals and cultural events already this year, not least our own Bath Festival in May which celebrates music and books. However, we are excited to be working in collaboration with new and existing partners on developing a festival experience that is virtual and interactive. Plans are at an early stage, but we are working to bring a small programme of carefully curated content that is original, inspiring and engaging for schools and families, who may still be at home, to run close to the usual Bath Children’s Literature Festival dates. It will be accessible and inclusive and will be fronted by our guest curator, Cressida Cowell and themed around her Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter. 

For many years the Bath Children’s Literature Festival has brought the world of children’s books to life through our live events. In early spring 2021 we are also hoping to run a programme of public events making greater use of the iconic venues in our world heritage city. Our usual 10 day festival format will return in autumn with the Bath Children’s Literature Festival running from Friday 24 September – Sunday 3 October 2021. 

We will be working closely with our bookselling partner, community bookshop Mr B’s Emporium, and our aim is to collaborate with a network of independent bookshops to ensure sales opportunities for participating authors and illustrators. 

Our gratitude goes out to all the publishers, authors, illustrators, interviewers, venue hosts, partners, volunteers and audiences who have supported the Bath Children’s Literature Festival programming up to this point. We look forward to working with the talented publicists on our 2021 programme and in shaping our virtual and interactive offering for schools and families this autumn. Further announcements will be made soon. 

Both of our 2020 festivals can no longer take place as planned due to the COVID-19 crisis. The impact of reduced ticket sales, sponsorship and public funding means that we need your help now to ensure that Bath Festivals is here to share a love of books and music with future generations. Whatever you can spare will make a big difference, please donate to back Bath Festivals by clicking on the logo below.

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