Eyes down for all star ‘I Love Reading’ weekend extravagaza!

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What do a world famous skeleton detective, a Moshi Monster and a Wimpy Kid have in common? They are all going to be taking part in this weekend’s I Love Reading children’s book festival, which will see some of the biggest names in children and young people’s literature converge on the Verbal Arts Centre.

World famous fantasy adventure novelist Derek Landy, he of Skulduggery Pleasant fame, is set to appear, as well as Indian in the Cupboard author Lynn Reid Banks, whose has had several of her books made into movies.

The Moshi Monsters will land on the walls on Friday morning and visual and animation expert from the Hollywood blockbusters Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Harry Potter and Happy Feet will also make an appearance over the weekend.

A family fun day kicks off proceedings on Friday morning with free storytelling sessions in Café Bloom’s, arts and crafts in the foyer and the fabulous Moshi Monster characters Poppet and Katsuma entertaining the children during two sessions at 3.15pm and 4.15pm.

All children in attendance will get a free exclusive City of Culture Moshi Monsters book.

Booking is not possible for these sessions but registering interest is advised due to high demand and places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

Storytelling sessions will run in Café Bloom’s from 11am to 3.34pm on Saturday featuring local and international authors such as the bestselling author of Indian in the Cupboard Lynn Reid Banks and local author Felicity McCall.

On Friday at 6pm and Saturday at 10.15am, fans of Diary of A Wimpy Kid books and Hollywood movies will be treated to the Official Wimpy Kid Show.

Hosted by Alastair Watson the show will involve exclusive clips from bestselling author Jeff Kinney talking about his books, his films and how he draws his characters, a Wimpy Kid Draw-Along and a Wimp Wars Quiz. Admission is £5.

On Saturday morning at 10am and 1pm there are special free workshops on book making. Kids aged 9+ will learn how to make their own journals and books with Young At Art’s facilitators. And running at the same times budding Steven Spielbergs can learn from the professionals how to write proper movie scripts.

On Saturday afternoon fans of fantasy adventure are in for a real treat as world-renowned author Derek Landy brings his most famous character Skulduggery Pleasant to life in the dark and gothic surrounds of St Columb’s Cathedral.

Derek will read an exclusive extract from his new book The Maleficent Seven and answer any burning questions fans might have. This event starts at 2pm, admission is £3 and it is geared towards children aged 8+. Booking is essential for this event as places are limited.

And the adults are not forgotten in this reading festival. Lynn Reid Banks, who has several bestsellers and Hollywood blockbusters under her belt, will host a free masterclass and discussion at noon on Sunday. Places are limited to 25 so book early.

At 4pm an innovation panel – featuring Robert Cullen of The Amazing World of Gumball fame, Greg Maguire who worked on Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Harry Potter and Happy Feet, and Sean Love of Fighting Words will discuss their work and how to get kids excited about stories.

Booking and registering interest in all these events is crucial as spaces are limited. Please register your interest by contacting communications@verbalartcentre.co.uk or calling 02871 266946.