Wimbledon BookFest Diary

Last week, we were delighted to support two school events at Wimbledon BookFest. Two fantastic children’s authors, Gill Lewis and Alex Wheatle, captured the imagination of hundreds of school children, who each got to take a book home with them:

10 October – Gill Lewis 

What a fabulous day at Wimbledon Bookfest! Many school groups – nearly 500 children – were completely captivated by author, Gill Lewis, as she told us about her love of animals and nature from an early age – how she turned her doll’s house into a zoo, even putting slugs to bed alongside spider cocoons, how a rat she had saved from the cat had jumped out of a sock in a drawer terrifying her mother.

She spoke of her experiences as a vet and then as an author – all this with pictures and videos of animals and birds including sky dancing harriers, bears and their cubs, etc. All the children had their photograph taken with the author, and each received a copy of her latest book, Sky Dancer, to take home. Give a Book were delighted to provide copies for four of the schools.

11 October – Alex Wheatle

Another day at Wimbledon Bookfest, this time in the company of the wonderful Book Clubs in Schools who had organised Alex Wheatle to come and speak to an audience of book club members from several of their schools. We were keen to support the event and provided copies of Alex’s book Straight Outta Crongton for the kids to take home.

Alex spoke of his troubled childhood and how he had been inspired to start reading when he was at a very problematic time of his life in prison. He praised his cell mate (who was an avid reader with a huge pile of books beside his bed )  as the inspiration that began his reading journey. Although he didn’t realise it at the time, he went on to say that  “that pile of books would save my life”.

In his books, he likes to play with language and he spoke of one of his favourite books being Tolkien’s The Hobbit, a copy of which was also available for the children to take home.

Alex’s talk was full of passion, feeling and humour and it was heartening to hear how he defined himself and grew from a difficult start in life. He was a huge hit with the children who were buzzing with questions and comments at the end.

Two thoroughly joyous events – with all thanks to Wimbledon Bookfest for their impeccable organisation and beautiful tent.


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