BookTastic BookFest is Back! 2-3 November 2018

We are so very excited to announce that the next BookTastic Children’s Book Festival will take place in Bedford on 2nd and 3rd November!

We are running a fabulous programme for schools on Friday 2nd November, so teachers and teaching assistants please do get in touch to find out more!

Saturday 3rd November we will be running a full day programme with lots of authors coming along to inspire you and your children to keep on reading!

Watch this space as we reveal who will be coming along!  Have a look here if you would like to get more involved – Help us Run BookTastic 2018!



(Apologies for the rather heavy-handed pun.)

This is not an article about an ancient and mysterious defensive charm. Nor will it conjure up your own magical guardian. However, it resembles JK Rowling’s famous ethereal creation in one important way: this article contains the key to projecting your most positive feelings…

Become a BookFest Patron!

BookTastic Children’s Book Festival has evolved into something at the heart of the local community. Last year saw an incredible response to our ‘Pay It Forward’ programme, making the festival accessible to a much wider range of families. Our supporters  are willing to ‘walk the walk’, making BookFest the inclusive, inspiring event that is has become.

This year, we want to show how much we appreciate that support. By becoming a Festival patron, you will get more than a warm, fuzzy feeling.  BookTastic Patrons will be recognised as part of the team that makes the magic happen – bringing authors and illustrators to Bedford, helping to inspire a generation of readers and writers, and to sustain Bedford’s growing cultural agenda.

As a Patron, your name will be featured in the programme, in recognition of your contribution to the festival’s continued growth. You get Priority Booking for all events, with 25% off all ticket prices, and Priority Queuing to the events of your choice. You will receive all the news about this  year’s BookFest before it is released to the public, and you will be invited to the celebratory closing party.

An annual Patron Membership costs*:
£40 for a single membership
£70 for a couples’ membership

Thank you, Bedford, for helping to create a children’s book festival that we are truly proud of. To find out more about becoming part of the story, email

*2016 prices, subject to annual review


We’re fine-tuning the pixels on the ticketing website, tweaking the programmes and flyers, and basically trying desperately not to get completely over-excited about the imminent launch of this year’s Book Festival!

To occupy our twitching hands, we’ve decided to introduce you to some of the amazing authors and illustrators who will be joining us on Sunday 28th June, starting with Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize winner, Robin Stevens…

Robin is author of the Wells and Wong Murder series, highly acclaimed here in the UK and launched this month in the US. As well as winning the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, she was selected for The New Stateman’s best books for children; The Telegraph’s best book’s for children list; and won Best Primary Novel in the Oxfordshire Book Awards.

Set in the very English backdrop of Deepdean School for Girls, Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are schoolgirls with a thirst for mystery. When they set up the Wells and Wong Detective agency, however, they have no idea that their first case will be murder…

Murder Most Unladylike and Arsenic for Tea are out in the UK now, and the third book in the series, First Class Murder, will be released in July 2015 – so chances are you’ll get a sneak preview at her session at BookTastic! Make sure you ask her about her pet bearded dragon named Watson, and growing up across the road from Alice in Wonderland. Ages 9-13.

It’s BACK baby…

That’s right, BookTastic’s Children’s Book Festival returns in 2015!

Following the overwhelming success of last year’s bookfest we’ve been asked to run the event again this year, this time with a bigger venue and bigger fun! We’re delighted to welcome back the amazing authors and creatives who made last year such a success, and are equally thrilled to be joined by some of the UK’s biggest names in children’s literature.

Over the next few months we’ll be announcing the line-up, as well as details on how to get hold of tickets – in the meantime, if you’d like to go on the mailing list to get the news FIRST, email us at

Book Club In The Park…

Has a nice ring to it, right? Books, fresh air, trees, green stuff… Perfect combination. And yes, that’s right, it’s coming to a Pavilion near you!

Bedford’s latest yummy ‘jewel in the crown’ of Bedford Park is not content with bringing warming coffee, delicious snacks and chef-designed menus that would be at home in the city – now they have a book club. Yep, that’s right, you can read and eat and drink warm beverages in one place. If that’s not heaven then, quite frankly, I pick t’other place.

The Pavilion’s book club, AKA (on Twitter) @ParkBookClub, AKA (on Facebook) Book Club At The Park, is hosting the inaugural meeting on Wednesday 28th January. An 11:00am start makes for a perfect brunch/book opportunity, and with Margaret Attwood’s ‘The Blind Assassin’ as the first read, it makes for a running start. With quotes such as “One look at a banana and you can tell it came from outer space”, it seems we’re in for a bumpy ride. Scream if you want to go faster…

Register at The Pavilion at the Park and pick up your free copy – official blog to follow soon, where your reviews are eagerly anticipated…

Got books..?

Well. 2014 was the year that BookTastic all went a little, well, booktastic! A move to a new home at Bedford’s fabulous BedPop led to requests for more frequent sessions, invitations to participate in other events across the county and, of course, Bedford’s very first children’s book festival!

As 2014 comes to a close we’re slowing down as we begin to plan for next year – but what will it bring?

What we do know: Bloomsbury’s Harry Potter Book Night on February 5th will have a home in Bedford, so get that date in your diaries. We’ll also see the return of the book festival and we hope to make it even zappier and exciting than this year!

What we don’t know: what you want to see! So let us know – drop us an email at and tell us what you’d like from us in 2015.

In the meantime… We have two final dates in the diary – Bedtime Stories on Thursday 11th December, followed by a Christmas Special on Monday 22nd December, both at The Puddin Club on Castle Road. 6:00pm for Wee Ones, 6:30pm for Not So Wee Ones – tickets are free but must be booked so drop in to The Puddin Club and speak to Ann.

Thank you all so much for your support in 2014. It’s been an amazing year for so many reasons and we’re excited to see so many enthusiastic young folk getting into books. Lets make 2015 The Year of the Book…

The Book Festival


It feels sometimes these days, like the only limit to events that you can get off the ground in Bedford is your imagination. The past few years have seen empty shop and film festivals, art projects and busking events, not to mention numerous pop-ups appearing all over the town.

So when we first came up with the idea of a childrens’ book festival, it seemed like the obvious next step in a huge adventure for Bedford. It came from the enthusiasm of a few keen readers, all hell bent on getting kids excited about reading books. There are so many other ways for modern children to find their fun – the internet has unlocked an entire world of possibilities, there are more computer games than you can shake a memory stick at, and many children spend a huge amount of time shuttled between school and other activities. All of this is good, but there is a huge danger that reading may get pushed aside by other kinds of fun. That curling up with a good book will not be as natural for this generation as it has been for previous ones. There is a real fear that finding that spark to set alight a lifetime of finding joy in reading stories will become harder and harder.

As Booktastic, we invited local children to come and explore books at workshops that we ran upstairs in a store room at Waterstones. We read, and we talked the books through – asked the children questions and discussed the plots and words and meanings woven together in the books. We did drawing and craft and making, all built around the ideas in the books. And then we did an event in the PopUpShop in town, where so many children turned up that we ran out of space on the reading rug, and ran out of chairs. We saw that the audience was hooked and that we could do something bigger.

A children’s book festival would sit perfectly alongside the other wonderful cultural events put on in the town for young people: childrens’ theatre, the holiday workshops at The Higgins, the events run by Kiosk at the park. With the magnificent backdrop of the shiny new Higgins, we could draw families and visitors right into the heart of the cultural district. And we can read, and talk about reading, and books ALL DAY LONG.