Santander International Schools Programme brings international authors to Island for 5th Jersey Festival of Words

Book-loving children from across Jersey joined international authors last month for the Island’s largest literary event. This year celebrated the 5th year of Jersey Festival of Words, which is the Island’s biggest book festival to date, welcoming over 50 authors to the Island for an array of book talks and readings.

We were delighted to sponsor the Santander International Schools Programme for the third year running, giving local school children the opportunity to learn more about the work of their favourite authors.

Writers visiting Jersey this year as part of the programme included former BBC presenter Konnie Huq, who introduced her illustrated novel Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World, the first book in Huq’s new adventure series for 7-12-year-olds.

The five-day event, which took place from 23-27 September included six free School Programme events on 26 and 27 September at Jersey Opera House.

Building on the success of last year’s talk, Poet A.F Harrold returned to Jersey with Midnight Feasts, an anthology of poetry about food, introducing children to writers such as Joseph Coelho, William Carlos Williams, and Sabrina Mahfouz. Harrold also introduced The Afterwards, a dark comedy about friendship through death.

‘Touching, tender, and unforgettable’ is how The Guardian describes Cathy Cassidy's latest book, Sami’s Silver Lining. The best-selling author, who has previously worked as an art teacher and an agony aunt, engaged her KS2 and KS3 audience with her character Sami, on a journey from Syria to England, fear to friendship.

Any parent who has faced endless questions of ‘why?’ may wish their child had attended Christopher Lloyd’s talk on Absolutely Everything: A History of Earth, Dinosaurs, Rulers, Robots and Other Things Too Numerous to Mention. Lloyd’s latest book charts the progress of the world from 13 billion years’ ago to today, looking at 15 defining moments of history.

No subjects were off limits at Speak Up, Laura Coryton’s event for Beaulieu girls. Tackling topics such as bullying, consent, feminism, and self-confidence, the political activist gave the students messages of empowerment and learning the value of their own voices.

The programme culminated at Highlands College with a talk by Yasmin Rahman for KS5 pupils. All the Things We Never Said is a novel aimed at tackling issues of mental health in a supportive way for young adults. “It is the book I wish I’d had as a teenager,” the author said of her first novel. Santander International staff were on hand during the events, helping authors at the Opera House and giving all the children a free pair of sunglasses. Over 3,000 children from Jersey schools attended the events this year, giving young Islanders a real connection with the world of books to stimulate and encourage their reading.

James Pountney, Managing Director, Santander International, said: “Watching Jersey Opera House come alive as hundreds of enthusiastic children engage and interact with the authors of their favourite books is very inspiring. We all know that reading is an important skill that needs to be developed in children.

“Reading can provide children with endless hours of fun and entertainment. Stories free up imaginations and transport readers to exciting new worlds of fantasy and make-believe.”



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