New family literature festival will show potential of revived station hall

A line-up of renowned writers will feature in a new literature festival next week.

Herne Hill launches its first Literature Festival to celebrate World Book Week with the likes of Louise Candlish, Paul Lyalls, Jane Porter and Tamara MacFarlane.

The UK’s leading publishers will also attend the event, including Walker Books, Little Tiger Press, and Tiny Owl Publishing.
There will be a packed programme from Monday to Thursday with something for all ages, from storytelling, creative writing workshops, and multi-sensory performances to panel discussions and a big book group at the newly launched Station Hall in Herne Hill.

The array of poetry, performance, storytelling, and creative writing sessions, will be followed by evening walks, workshops and talks for the adults.

This will include a Big Book Group with international bestselling local author Louise Candlish and panel discussion with Goldsmith’s lecturer in children’s publishing, Katharine Smales, with a panel of leading children’s publishers.

Lucy Reynolds, children’s book author and project manager for Station Hall and the book festival said: “We’re absolutely delighted to launch the Herne Hill Literature Festival in our newly opened Station Hall, and are thrilled that it has attracted such an incredible range of leading authors, poets and publishers, the majority of whom are based in Herne Hill.

“The event celebrates the huge wealth of literary and book-related activity happening in the local area and will, we hope, inspire the next generation of budding authors, illustrators and readers to create and love books for a lifetime’.

The mysterious space above Herne Hill Station Hall has until recently been a huge, mothballed cavern, sitting vacant for years, unused and unnoticed. But now it has the chance to come back to life, as the beating heart of the local community.

With short term development funding from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund, the Herne Hill Forum is working with individuals, groups, charities and enterprises from all walks of life to create a completely unique community centre, right in the midst of Herne Hill.

The Literary Festival will be an early example of how the space can bring people together to create a force for social cohesion and engagement.
For more information about this exciting project, and for an up to date calendar of events, please visit

Herne Hill Literary Festival event highlights include:

* Paul Lyalls, poet in residence for the ROALD DAHL Museum 2013/2014 & Star of BBC2’s/CBBC’s ‘Big Slam Poetry House’, with his new collection of poetry, ‘A Funny Thing Happened’. More info here. (4th March, 4-5pm)
* The Stories We Tell Our Children. Herne Hill’s Katharine Smales teaches the children’s publishing module at Goldsmiths and will be discussing the importance of children reading for pleasure and the life skills this brings them. Katharine will be joined by a panel of children’s publishing experts, from Walker Books, Tiny Owl Publishing, Tales on Moon Lane and Children’s Writers and Illustrators for Stories and Literacy (CWISL) (6th March 7.30 to 9.30)
* Pop up Photo Booth with Herne Hill photographer, Portrayed Photography – come in your book character costume and get a free digital photo to remember the day. 7th March, 4-6pm)
* OUR HOUSE WITH LOUISE CANDLISH – join internationally acclaimed Herne HIll author for a ‘Big Book Group’ exploration of her #1 best selling thriller – a nightmare tale of fraud, betrayal and murder sure to set your spine tingling (7th March 7.30 to 9.30)
* Flying Boots in Storytown – join us for a range of creative storytelling activities inspired by the new Herne Hill Art Trail [LINK?} – these sessions will help to spark ideas which you can then develop into stories to enter into the Herne Hill Storytelling competition that will be launching soon (with a £1000 prize to incentivise creativity!). (7th March 3.45 – 5.45)
Make your own story book by using story prompts and collage with Mary Porter, writer and illustrator (5th March, 3.45 to 4.45)

In addition to the programme of after-school and evening events, there is also a daytime programme of Book Week sessions purely for schools. The aim is to bring our local community of school children together to share in a growing love of books and storytelling. And we are asking people to donate books all through the week for redistribution via our charity partner, to make sure that as many children as possible have access to books.

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