By Sophie, 19th May 2023
Awen Cultural Trust will host the inaugural Bridgend Children’s Literature Festival from Saturday 20th May to Sunday 4th June, thanks to financial support from Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and Bridgend County Borough Council.
The fortnight-long festival, which will take place at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall, Bryngarw Country Park and libraries across Bridgend, hopes to inspire a lifelong love of reading among children and young people, by bringing books to life and celebrating literature and storytelling in all its forms.
Events will include author talks and poetry, live music, magic shows, dance and movement sessions, creative writing workshops, outdoor trails, cinema screenings, arts and crafts, and opportunities to learn about illustration. Inclusive theatre performances from the highly acclaimed Chickenshed, and visits from Connor Allen, Children’s Laureate Wales 2021-23, and Welsh broadcaster Roy Noble OBE will also feature in the vibrant and varied programme of events for schools and families.
Other outreach activities will include a visit by Awen and creative practitioners to HMP Parc’s ‘You and Me’ family sessions. These sessions are part of the prison’s Invisible Walls Wales initiative to support prisoners in maintaining strong bonds with their children.
There will also be a poetry and ‘create a character’ competition running throughout the festival, providing an opportunity for local talent to flourish, and the opportunity for children to win some fantastic prizes.
Awen’s Chief Executive, Richard Hughes, explained that as part of the registered charity’s commitment to breaking down the barriers that might prevent people from accessing and engaging with arts and culture, the festival events will be either free of charge or very low cost.
“Our ambition is to create a truly inclusive, annual event which showcases all types of children’s literature, but with particular focus on the Welsh language, emerging and established Welsh authors, people from the global majority and those with other protected characteristics and lived experience, which we will look to build on year-on-year. We are grateful to the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and Bridgend County Borough Council, for their funding, but also our partner organisations Literature Wales, Books Council of Wales, Children’s Literature Festivals and the Reading Agency for their ongoing support.”
Councillor Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “We are proud to be able to deliver this festival through our partnership with Awen, along with support from Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government.
“The Children’s Literature Festival promises to be an excellent programme of events, encompassing not just literature, but music, dance and much more – delivering them to families and schools across the county borough.
“By highlighting Welsh authors, artists, as well as other creatives, we can inspire and light the way for the next generation.
“We are certain that the festival will go from strength to strength each year and we very much look forward to seeing it take shape.”
All events can be pre-booked via Awen’s ticket website: www.awenboxoffice.com.