A CHILDREN’S reading festival is returning to Blackburn for 2019, it has been announced.
An inaugural gathering last year, organised by Blackburn-born author Christina Gabbitas, enthused thousands of young bookworms.
And now a series of events are being pulled together to cement a love of books among East Lancashire youngsters.
One of the first initiatives to be unveiled by Christina is a poetry competition, which is being run in partnership with the Ribble Rivers Trust.
Junior wordsmiths will be asked to compose an eight-line piece, focusing on the Ribble catchment’s waterways – with a signed David Walliams children’s book as the top prize.
The idea was pulled together as a result of the writer’s latest book, Save Us, which tackles the toll everyone is taking on the natural world and is being showcased as part of The People’s Book Prize.
Christina said: “I came up with the idea of a poetry initiative for children to write about the Ribble rivers to help educate them on taking care of our environment.
“The book addresses plastic pollution and I will be staging read-aloud interactive sessions as part of the festival.”
When the entries have been assessed, a winner will be announced during a Families and Communities Day on June 22 at King George’s Hall in Blackburn.
Part of the prize will also see the rivers trust hosting a two-hour workshop at the talented scribe’s school.
During the festival, which runs from June 18 to 22, poetry workshops will also be held at Blackburn Museum on June 21, to coincide with World Poetry Day.
An evening with the artists night is also planned for Liz N Lils Vintage Cafe in Northgate on Tuesday, June 18, from 7pm. Borough libraries and the Mall have also been supporters.
Further activities will be revealed closer to the festival, and Railway Children and Call the Midwife actress Jenny Agutter is an ambassador.
Young writers looking to enter the poetry event can go online to http://www.poemsandpictures.co.uk/competition for more details.