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Broughton Hall Children’s Literature Festival Huge Success

We are absolutely delighted with how well our debut literature festival, held at the gorgeous Broughton Hall, went.

Events at Bradford Grammar

It all began with Sir Chris Hoy hosting an event at Bradford Grammar which was attended by over 450 pupils from 10 neighbouring schools – a wonderful treat for them.

That evening Bradford Grammar hosted another event for us, this time open to the general public. Inspirational speaker and intrepid traveller Leon McCarron spoke with his talk ‘The Land Beyond’ which explores the various layers of culture, history, faith and politics at work in the bubbling cauldron of one of the most complex and compelling places on earth – the Holy Land. A hugely engaging event that was enjoyed by all who attended.

Free event for rural schools hosted by Tennants Auction House

Wonderful author Tom Palmer volunteered to host a free event at Tennants Auction House in Leyburn which was attended by 900 pupils from local rural schools, which went down a storm!

Free School Visits for Local Schools

Over Thursday and Friday Authors Abroad and some sponsored provided a free one hour author/poet or illustrator to all local schools who were interested. Around 195 schools took us up on our offer and we sent over 60 different artists into schools to entertain and inspire – with tremendous feedback. Some schools had never been in a position to be able to host an author visit and grasped the opportunity with both hands, with our authors talking to around 40,000 eager students.


The Weekend Event at Broughton Hall

Then the festival began! We took over Broughton Hall with our gang of authors, poets, illustrators and even Bollywood Dancers. As well as an appearance on Saturday from He Who Shall Not Be Named…

We had a gate-crasher….

Clare Balding, Steve Cole, Karl Nova and Michael De Souza

MG Leonard, Robin Stevens participating in Peter Bunzl’s Show, Steven Butler, Clare Balding showcasing Yorkshire Tea

The weather stayed on our side and over 5000 people flocked to Broughton Hall to watch the various author talks, poetry performances and take part in the Silver Cross Micralite scarecrow trail, the YPO messy tent, had their faces painted or enjoyed the array of entertainment offered on the free stage.


Some children taking advantage of the free YPO Messy Tent

A selection of some of the wonderful literature themed scarecrows local schools created for our event.

183 people completed the scarecrow trail challenge and we crowned 2 schools joint first place for their impressive scarecrows.

Yorkshire Young Writer of the Year Competition

Each day ended with us announcing our Yorkshire Young Writer of the Year short story writing competition winners. Authors Abroad ran the competition totally free of charge and opened it to all Yorkshire and some nearby Lancashire schools. Every school that entered was guaranteed to have at least one of their stories published. The standard of writing was very impressive and we were delighted that so much creative talent is present amongst young people.

It was a close competition and we would like to thank authors Alan Gibbons, Harriet Goodwin and Robin Price for kindly writing the story openings children were given to follow.


Immense congratulations to the following:

Years 3 and 4

1st Place: Amelie from Earby Springfield Primary, Baronoldswick.

2nd Place:Antonia from  Water Street Community Primary School, Skipton.

3rd Place: Amelia from Moorfield School, Ilkley



Years 5 and 6

1st Place: Eva from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Otley.

2nd Place: Cleo from Myrtle Park Primary School, Bingley.

3rd Place: Emily Hughes from Brackenfield School, Harrogate.



All of our event was designed to promote a love and passion for literacy, as well as raising awareness and funds for a children’s mental health charity – The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust agreed that all funds raised by the Broughton Hall Literate Festival would be spent on mental health training for staff and parents at Yorkshire schools.

Yvonne Lang