Denzell Book Fest 2013

In 2013, we focused on the children in our community, inspiring young readers with a brilliant line-up of writers, pop-up drama and storytelling, arts and crafts, competitions and more.

We welcomed over 500 guests, who were treated to exciting and engaging events with our four handpicked writers.

Tom Palmer

Tom Palmer wasn’t that interested in reading when he was younger. His mum was worried about him because he wasn’t doing very well at school, so she encouraged him to read about football in magazines, newspapers and books. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, as well as being an award-winning author, Tom travels up and down the country sharing his love of reading with young people. Tom’s books, which include the Football AcademyFoul Play and The Squad series, combine his love of books with his passion for sport, as do his high-energy, interactive events; his session at our Festival included one of his famous penalty shoot-outs! Tom has also written stand-alone novels for publishers Barrington Stoke, which are particularly suited to young people with dyslexia and reluctant readers. Check out Tom’s website for more information about Tom and great activities based on his books.

“It was reading about football that changed my life”


M.L. Peel

When Megan Peel was six she changed primary schools, had her reading assessed and was asked to join the remedial-readers’ after-school club. When her dad asked her what she was struggling with, she explained that the book she’d been given to read was not too difficult, but too boring. He marched her off to the local library and helped her pick out something different: Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. Megan was hooked. Her first children’s book, The Fabulous Phartlehorn Affair has been described as ‘Roald Dahl for the twenty-first century’ and is just as hilarious and fantastical as the book that got her reading in the first place.

“Reading, I discovered, did not have to be a chore, but could actually be fun”


Gareth P. Jones

Anyone who came to the first Denzell Book Fest in 2011 will probably remember Gareth – his songs about kung-fu fighting meerkats and murderous siblings had crowds gathered outside our author events tent. Since then, Gareth has won the Blue Peter Book Award 2012 for The Considine Curse and has added five new books to his hugely popular Ninja Meerkats series, as well as writing the comic Victorian Ghost story Constable and Toop (picked out by the Children’s Bookseller at Waterstones Altrincham as her favourite new book of 2012). We were thrilled to welcome Gareth (and his guitar) back to our Festival to inspire more young readers.

“I love stories in all forms but I learnt early on that reading is unique because it empowers the reader. The experience you have reading a book is unique to each reader because you must internalise the story. This makes books very special.”


Terry Caffrey

Terry Caffrey is a poet and a word wizard, although he’d tried a few jobs (over 60!) before he found his calling. He grew up in Liverpool and went to a school where, in his words, ‘you either had to be good at fighting or sport’; it wasn’t until he was 30 that he went to night school to get his GCSE in English Literature. Terry was the north-west’s first Author/Reading Champion and his poems have been part of the GCSE English Literature syllabus. He has worked in over 3,500 schools, and is Writer-in-Residence at the National Football Museum and for the Halle Orchestra. As well as performing at the festival, Terry judged our Poet-Tree competition.

“Words alive

When books are closed, words sleep and go to bed

Open books up and hear them sing and dance

Bring words alive”

There was dancing with Bollin Morris, drama with Whatsthesketch and storytelling from the Short Story Lady. Apples for Eggs held their first ever Junior Food Swap, ArtShed and Local Creation made bookmarks and bookbags and our Poet-Tree Writing Competition had hundreds of entries from local schools.

Food and drink was supplied by local businesses, including Festival favourites Vintage Afternoon Teas; Cocina Chorlton Tapas and The Gobstopper, as well as new contributors Choccy Churros, Crepes & Cupcakes; Dunham Massey Apple Juice and Trafford Bees Honey

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