What’s On

Pick and mix from our jam-packed programme of FREE activities!


With a magical storytelling tent, poetry in the woods, workshops, a book trail and sale, family crafts, street food, face painting and much more, there’s something for bookworms of all ages to enjoy.

All workshops and activities are included in the ticket price.

Before the Festival

Get into the spirit of things before the big day with our Virtual Treasure Hunt and a free Bookish Crafts session from our lovely friends at the Cloudberry Cafe in Marple.

Virtual Treasure Hunt

Put your code cracking and sleuthing skills to the test with our Virtual Treasure Hunt!

You’ll need to solve all 6 daily clues to answer the final question, then hand it in at the Festival Welcome Desk for your chance to win…

Bookish Crafts

Pop in for a free crafts session at the Cloudberry Cafe and learn how to create paper flowers from old book pages.

Just turn up between 2pm and 4:30pm on Thursday 28th June. It’s free to join and all materials will be provided.

You could even buy your festival tickets while you’re there!

On the Day

The Festival includes over 20 author events and workshops for both children and adults, as well as a great selection of activities and family crafts. Our incredible value tickets cover everything but food, drink and face-painting!

Family Activities

There’s plenty to do between sessions! Make a quill, chill out in the storytelling tent and make your mark for a good cause in Mellor’s Longest Story. Browse the secondhand Book Swap & Sale, relax at the PoetTree or learn a new craft. Children are also invited to enter the Fancy Dress Competition.

If you get peckish, treat yourself to some tasty street food or cakes or tuck into a picnic in the woods.

Author Events

Tracey Corderoy will be entertaining us throughout the day with book presentations, children’s crafts and interactive illustration sessions.

Each author will offer a book reading or activity session. Books by the featured authors will be available to purchase throughout the day, with a book-signing session from 2:30pm.

Fancy Dress Competition

Dust off those World Book Day costumes for another outing! Children are encouraged to come to the Festival in fancy dress…

Just come dressed as your favourite book or character and join the Fancy Dress Parade. Tracey Corderoy will judge the competition.

Book Trail

After the Festival, follow our Book Trail up to the Mellor Church Summer Fete. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk along a minimal traffic route through the fields. Children can solve the puzzle and count the bookworms along the way for a prize at the end of the trail.

You can follow the trail from either end so it’s just as handy if you’d prefer to park near the church and walk down to the Festival.

Code Cracking with J.D. Welch (age 7+)

J.D.Welch (School Hall @ 10:30am)

Jo Welch (author of The Einstein Code and The Darwin Code) will be presenting Cluedo Codes, Advanced Caesar Cipher, The Babbington Code, Playfair Ciphers, Book Ciphers and Bletchley Park vs the Enigma machine, with insights into how codes have shaped the world’s history, and with plenty of codes to crack.

Playing with Words (age 6-8)

Charlotte Gringras (Year 1 @ 12 noon)

Come and play with words with me.
Can we make words fly? Which words sound like their meaning?
Let’s make up a story or poem together and see how to choose happy words ( or sad ones)!

Storywriting with Nicola Hulme (age 4-6)

Nicola Hulme (Year 2 @ 1:30pm)

Author Nicola Hulme will lead a short, fun and interactive group story telling exercise.

The children can join in to create characters, a plot and an ending, to build their very own story. Adults can join in too if they feel inspired!

 “I’ve used this technique at schools and festivals on many occasions, the children love to take part and contribute their ideas. They are naturally creative and imaginative at this age, so it’s a delight to work with them and explore the infinite possibilities of where the story will lead.”  

This workshop is inclusive for all ages, the younger children can take part in the verbal creation of the story and older children will be encouraged to write up their own version of the story, or create an entirely new one using the technique learned.

Depending on numbers, Nicola will re-run the exercise (within the hour) so as many children can be involved as possible.

Finding Stories in Art (age 8-11)

Carole Page (Year 2 @ 10:30am)

We will explore ways to find the stories hidden in a painting by looking closely and asking questions. There will be lots of opportunities to talk about ideas and begin to write stories using post-it notes, coloured pens and origami notebooks!

Message in a Bottle (age 7+)

Josey Taylor (Year 2 @ 12 noon)

Josey will take children aged 7 and upwards on a sensory poetry exploration!  They will listen to a Betjeman poem as if it’s a message in a bottle and discuss how he creates images and uses the senses, and spot some other poetic techniques. They will then use ideas from the initial sensory exercise to draft their own poems on ‘bottle’ templates as if describing their island so someone can rescue them!

Getting Your Novel Into Print (Adults)

Phil Page (Year 5 @1:30pm)

Fear of rejection is one of the things which will quite often deter writers from getting their novel into print. However, today the self-publishing platform is strong and used by many successful authors. In this session, Phil will take you through the process of getting your fiction or non-fiction book into print and available on Amazon, Kindle and other online book stores. He will cover things like the length of your work, getting your book print ready and how to end up with your novel out into the market for less than £100.

Putting Pen to Paper: Getting started on your first book (Adults)

Phil Page (Year 5 @10:30am)

Many people carry a strong idea for a story around in their heads and may even have started writing down a series of ideas. In this session, Phil will talk about the process of writing, how successful books are constructed, how to mould your own ideas into a workable structure and how to keep going once you have started. He will also cover some of the online tools which are available to support authors in organising and checking their work.

Creative Writing (Adults)

Margaret Holbrook (Year 5 @12 noon)

Margaret will lead a workshop suitable for all abilities; from the beginner to the more seasoned writer. She will use verbal prompts to get everyone writing something and then use objects as inspiration for longer pieces of writing. There will be an opportunity to read out your work if you wish.

All materials will be provided.

Inside the Frame (Adults)

Carole Page (Year 6 @1:30pm)

Using paintings as a stimulus for creative writing! We will use techniques of close-looking to explore the elements of line, form and tone in one painting, and consider how this process shapes our understanding about what is ‘inside the frame’. We will use questioning to begin to develop our ideas about plot, narrative, character and perspective and there will be plenty of opportunities to talk and share ideas. Hopefully everyone will leave the session with the start of a new story!