Shrewsbury Bookfest was founded in May 1999. It was at the time the only exclusively children’s literary festival in the country. Since then, Bookfest has grown considerably, developed new projects and has established a fine reputation for excellence amongst authors, publishers and keen supporters.
It obtained charitable status in 2007, and in 2009 won a Queen’s Award for Excellence in the Voluntary Sector – the equivalent of an MBE and the highest award that can be given to a voluntary organisation.
Shrewsbury Bookfest has always been an independent, not-for-profit organisation, governed by a non-executive Board of Trustees. The Committee is primarily made up of a group of dedicated, hard working volunteers who collectively put in hundreds of hours to deliver continually evolving and successful reading development projects.
“I am absolutely thrilled that Bookfest has received this well deserved award and I am very very proud of the whole committee; they have always acted with such enthusiasm and commitment and I am always delighted to take part in the festival which has gone from strength to strength.”
Dame Jacqueline Wilson
President of Shrewsbury Bookfest
In 2009 Shrewsbury Bookfest was announced as one of 95 volunteering groups from across the UK winning the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This prestigious National Honour, which is equivalent to the MBE, recognises the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others. It sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, and the activities of those awarded have been judged of the highest standard. Shrewsbury Bookfest was given the Award for its work in “inspiring, enthusing and entertaining children through literature and the arts”.
Sophie Peach, Chair of the Bookfest Organising Committee said: “We are extremely honoured to have received this Award. We are very grateful for the tremendous support and goodwill we have received over the years from local organisations, businesses, schools and families. And we’re grateful to the wonderful authors and illustrators who have come to Shrewsbury and enthused and inspired so many thousands of children.
Beanstalk is a national charity that provides one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence.
The Arts Society Shrewsbury is actively engaged in supporting local Young Arts projects such as Bookfest’s Book Award.
University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) offers high quality teaching, learning and research, and has partnered with Bookfest for the Conference on 6th December 2017.
TCA, the Shrewsbury based firm of accountants, are now ‘sponsoring’ Shrewsbury Bookfest in the form of training and advice.
Sophie Peach is Chair of Bookfest, a position she’s held since 2007, as well as being a passionate, professional advocate for all things communicative. A founding partner of ‘Words Aloud,’ a national provider of public speaking skills for primary school children, Sophie’s energies for helping the younger generation create self-confidence ties in with all she does at Bookfest, where she leads on Book Award, our KS1 and KS2 initiative.’
Her favourite children’s book is ‘The Butterfly Lion,’ by Michael Morpurgo.
Former magazine editor, voice-over artist and independent publishing professional, Annabel Warburg, has brought her multi-faceted talents to Bookfest for many years, forming a critical part of the interplay between our work and local schools. Blessed with not just a passion, but an insightful understanding, for literature and publishing, Annabel’s insightful skill-set honed from years working within print media helps guide and focus our work, particularly that of BookAward and Schools’ Week, at every stage.
Her favourite children’s book is ‘Winter Holiday,’ by Arthur Ransome.
Elly Winter is our Treasurer, a position she’s held since early 2016. She is in the process of handing this role over to Sian Marshall. Elly brings her experience of working for a large animal charity, her HR & banking background to ensure the numbers balance at the end of the year and we are people compliant.
Elly’s love of books goes back to when she was a little girl when she used to play libraries with her collection of books, something that her daughter has also created with her collection.
Elly’s favourite children’s book is ‘ The World of Christopher Robin’ by A.A Milne, Elly still has her childhood version of this book.
Jane has been a primary teacher and then headteacher for many years. Recently retired, she was delighted to become part of Bookfest. Jane has, as a teacher, been involved with Bookfest for a number of years. She brings her experience of working with children to developing activities around reading for the Bookfest projects.
Jane’s love of books goes back to when she read with her father at a young age and she still enjoys reading the children’s books. She can’t resist visiting a bookshop wherever she is.
Jane’s favourite children’s book is ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Sian joined Bookfest as a School Coordinator in 2017 and has happily agreed to become a Trustee and take over the Treasurer’s role from Elly. Her background is HR in manufacturing and tourism, and she has previously undertaken the roles of School Governor and PTA Chair & Treasurer. Sian has 4 children and 3 large dogs. The “children” are now aged between 22 yrs and 15 yrs and all doing well, which Sian puts down to them having a joy of reading and music.
Sian’s favourite children’s book is ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll, which probably explains the joyful mayhem that is, and hopefully always will be, the Marshall household.