After rising to the challenge of Covid-19 and the UK lockdowns and bringing a Virtual BookTastic Bedford to audiences in 2020 and 2021, we’re absolutely thrilled to announced that once again, BookTastic Bedford will be GOING LIVE again in 2022 (week of 4-10 July 2022).

We’ve already got some amazing authors and illustrators ready to visit Bedford next year!

We’re putting together a Volunteer’s Information Pack for 2022 – let us know if you’d like us to send you a copy when it’s ready and we’ll add you to our list!

Tickets selling fast for 2021 BookTastic

Book your place now to make sure you can see our great authors & illustrators!

This year, thanks to our wonderful sponsors, we are able to make most* of BookTastic FREE to anyone who wants to take part. But you still need to book your place and we have limited “seats” in our BookTastic Portal (run by EventsAir). BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE


Saturday 3 July brings us:

10.30am – BookTastic regular Steve Cole will be joining us once more, bringing mayhem and more with his new book….Steve has been a regular at BookTastic Bedford since the very beginning, back in 2014 and has brought us Astrosaurs and Adventure Duck! Steve will

11.30am Axel Scheffler, the award-winning, internationally-acclaimed illustrator of some of the most well-loved children’s books. If you’ve read any picture book in the last ten years, you’ve probably seen Axel Scheffler’s illustrations. Axel is best known for his cartoon-like pictures for children’s books, in particular The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, written by Julia Donaldson. He has also authored/illustrated the Pip and Posy series of books for children. His books have been published in many languages and his work has been exhibited all around the world.

  • Tickets to watch Axel Scheffler are £5..

1.00pm – Award-winning author Vashti Hardy returns to BookTastic Bedford with more high adventure and invention with her exciting new book, Crowfall.

2.30pm – Carnegie-award nominated Patrice Lawrence will be joining us to talk about her books for younger readers Diver’s Daughter & Toad Attack. She’ll be talking about telling your own story in your own voice.

Patrice Lawrence is an award-winning writer, whose debut YA novel, Orangeboy, won the Bookseller YA Prize and the Waterstones Prize for Older Children’s Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and many regional awards. Indigo Donut, her second book, was shortlisted for the Bookseller YA Prize, was Book of the Week in The TimesThe Sunday Times and The Observer, and was one of The Times’ top children’s books in 2017. Both books were nominated for the Carnegie Award.

Tickets are selling fast and we have limited “seats” in our so BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE

It’s AXEL SCHEFFLER at BookTastic Bedford 2021

Tickets available now!

We are thrilled and honoured to be welcoming Axel Scheffler to Virtual Online BookTastic Book Festival on Saturday 3 July.

Axel Scheffler is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed illustrator of some of the most well-loved children’s books. His books have been published in many languages and his work has been exhibited all around the world. 

Axel Scheffler was born in Hamburg, Germany. In the 1980s Axel came over to study Illustration at Bath Academy of Art, where he spent much of his time drawing sheep and peacocks in the grounds of Corsham Court. Axel moved to London where he began work on illustrations for English and German magazines, newspapers and children’s books. In the early 90s he began his picture book partnership with Julia Donaldson. The duo became picture book superstars with titles including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Highway Rat and Zog – all of which have been made into award-winning animated films by Magic Light Pictures.

The most recent film was The Snail and the Whale which premiered on BBC One on Christmas Day 2019. Zog and the Flying Doctors is the latest film from Magic Light Pictures due on BBC One at Christmas 2020. Julia and Axel’s latest book, The Smeds and the Smoos, was the bestselling picture book of 2019 and awarded the 2020 British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year (Illustrated and Non fiction). Axel’s artwork is exhibited internationally. He supports many charities, including Three Peas, which provides vital support for refugees and receives a £1 donation from every sale of his most recent book, Kind. Born in Hamburg, Axel now lives with his family in London.

Click here to book your tickets to see Axel Scheffler at 11.30am on Saturday 3 July.

Gareth P Jones at BookTastic Bedford 2021

Gareth P. Jones is a Blue Peter award winning author of over 40 books for children of all ages, regular school visiting author and a festival performer.

Books, songs and shows about Ninja Meerkats, Steampunk Pirates, Dragon Detectives, murderous twins, dark family secrets, bureaucratic ghosts, Victorian illusionists, dinosaur parties, time travel mysteries, alien-fighting pets, daily jokes and Death or Ice cream?

Illustrated by the fantastic Loretta Schauer, Gareth’s first picture book in 5 years, Rabunzel is now out. It is published by Egmont Books and the first in a series of retellings of fairy tales.

Rabunzel is a rabbit with very long ears. Her mother locks her away in a high hutch to keep her safe but this is one tale with a twist and it won’t be the handsome young hare, Flash Harry who rescues Rabunzel. This is one rabbit is not in need for rescuing. And here’s the theme song!

Age 3+ Watch this space to book your tickets to see Gareth P Jones at 11.30am on Sunday 4 July.

Steve Cole at BookTastic Bedford 2021

Steve Cole will be back at BookTastic BookFest this year!

Steve Cole has been delighting audiences at BookTastic BookFest since we started in 2014 and we are thrilled to have him back for our virtual BookFest this year.

Steve Cole is a best-selling author for children and young adults and has written over 150 books of which sales exceed three million copies. His hugely successful Astrosaurs young fiction series has been a UK top-ten children’s bestseller and been published widely internationally.

A highly versatile fantasy, comedy and adventure writer, Steve’s work includes a broad range of novels such as Magic Ink! and Adventure Duck for younger readers.

His original fiction titles for Doctor Who for which he now acts as range consultant for BBC Books have also been top-ten bestsellers. He also succeeded Charlie Higson as the writer for Young Bond, a series which follows the adventures of the teenage James Bond and has worked with adventurer and TV presenter Ben Fogle on his Mr Dog UK top ten best-selling childrens’ book series. 

Much in demand for his performances at events (both in the UK and internationally), Steve has appeared at Edinburgh, Hay, Bath and Sharjah Festivals, YALC and World Book Day’s Biggest Book Show on Earth. A supporter of the reading charity Beanstalk, he has toured schools in Europe, America, the UAE, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

See Steve Cole on Saturday 3 July at 10am. From his best-selling series Astrosaurs to his latest book, Tin Boy, Steve will share quick-and-easy ways to invent story ideas, sharing secret writing tips and revealing the origins of some of his own characters.

Zanib Mian at BookTastic Bedford 2021

Author of the Planet Omar series comes to BookTastic BookFest Bedford!

We are thrilled to announce that the author of the Planet Omar series, Zanib Mian will joining BookTastic BookFest on Saturday 3 July.

Planet Omar – Epic Hero Flop The fourth book in Zanib Mian’s laugh-out-loud series, with amazing cartoon-style illustrations. Perfect for fans of Tom Gates and Wimpy Kid.

When Omar’s best friend Daniel messes up at school, Omar decides to take the blame to save him from getting in trouble – which makes him feel like a hero! 

With this taste of heroism, Omar takes the blame for a couple of small things other kids in the class have done – without realising that when something more serious happens, the signs will point to him since he’s been so unusually troublesome. 

The teachers are SURE the culprit must be Omar. Can his friends prove his innocence and show that he wasn’t responsible for the chaos?

*Zanib Mian is a World Book Day author for 2021 with her Planet Omar title, Operation Kind.*


Check out Zanib Mian’s books at the BookTastic bookshop


Vashti Hardy at BookTastic Bedford 2021

Vashti Hardy returns to BookTastic Bedford!

After a great visit to our first virtual BookTastic BookFest in 2020, we are thrilled that award-winning author Vashti Hardy is returning on Saturday 3rd July with more high adventure and invention with her exciting new book, Crowfall.

More high adventure and invention with an ecological twist from the Blue Peter Award winning author of Wildspark and Brightstorm.

Cast out from the clockwork island of Ironhold, where mechanical technology controls everything, Orin Crowfall finds himself adrift on a small boat in the middle of the ocean.

As Orin and his robot friend Cody struggle to make sense of the events that brought them here, the one thing they know for sure is that Ironhold is in trouble. They need to get back, whatever the cost.

cover of Crowfall by Vashti Hardy

Plagued by perilous seas and freak storms, and with a terrifying sea monster on their tail, Orin soon realises their journey won’t be easy. It will take courage and strength, trusting in new friends and embracing the spirit of adventure, if Orin wants to save his home.

Watch this space to book your tickets to see Vashti Hardy at 1.00pm on Saturday 3 July.

Laura Ellen Anderson at BookTastic Bedford 2021

Author of the Amelia Fang series brings Rainbow Grey to BookTastic Bedford!

We are thrilled to welcome Laura Ellen Anderson to BookTastic Bedford for our Schools Programme on Friday 2 July!

Author of the Amelia Fang series, which has been published in over 20 languages. Laura Ellen Anderson is the illustrator of Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series and she illustrated the relaunch of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, and Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider series.

Ten-year-old Ray Grey lives in the magical Weatherlands, high in the sky. Ray is surrounded by Weatherlings with astounding weather power at their fingertips . . . but she doesn’t have ANY magic!

Then, after a trip to Earth, Ray’s life changes forever. She is transformed from Ray Grey into RAINBOW GREY! With the help of her best friends (and exploding cloud cat, Nim) now all Ray has to do is master her powers AND save the world from a mysterious, powerful enemy . . .

AGE RANGE 7-10 – school Years 3-5 – Friday 2nd July at 10am. Email for more info!

Check out Laura Ellen Anderson’s books at the BookTastic bookshop


M.G Leonard will be at BookTastic Bedford, 2 July 2021

Author of Beetle trilogy series brings Twitch to the schools programme BookTastic BookFest Bedford!

We are thrilled that award-winning author M.G Leonard is joining BookTastic BookFest as part of our virtual schools programme on Friday 2 July.

From the internationally bestselling author of Beetle Boy and the Adventures on Trains series, comes the first book in The Twitchers, a brand new mystery adventure series celebrating friendship, bravery and the incredible world of birds, starring a birdwatching detective called Twitch!

Can a birdwatcher outwit an escaped convict?

Twitch has three pet chickens, four pigeons, swallows nesting in his bedroom and a passion for birdwatching. On the first day of the summer holidays, he arrives at his secret hide to find police everywhere: a convicted robber has broken out of prison and is hiding in Aves Wood. Can Twitch use his talents for birdwatching to hunt for the dangerous prisoner and find the missing loot?

Her books have been translated into over forty languages and a TV series based on the Beetle Boy trilogy is currently in development. She is a vice president for charity Buglife and her beetles have appeared on Blue Peter, Springwatch Unsprung, Countryfile, Meet the Author with James Naughtie, Sky News, and featured in the BBC documentary, The Bug Couple.

M.G. Leonard will be beaming into schools (and home-schools) at 10am on Friday 2nd July – email to find out how to book!

Praise for M. G. Leonard:

“An original voice in children’s literature.” The Times

“Truly great storytelling.” Michael Mopurgo

“Superstar.” Guardian

“Wonderful.” Sunday Telegraph

Check out M.G Leonard’s books at the BookTastic bookshop


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We’ll be announcing our 2021 lineup to the email list first

We’re finalising an awesome line-up for BookTastic Bedford’s 2021 Virtual Book Festival 2 – 4 July. Sign up to our mailing list so that you’ll be amongst the first to find out who’s coming along and be first to know when the ticket sales go live!

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