Stellar line-up of authors at Swansea Children’s Literature Festival

A fantastic line-up of authors took part in the first of its kind free Children’s Literature Festival held at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea during the weekend of 7-8th October 2023.

Hannah Gold onstage with cuddly Polar Bear toy

Almost 3,000 people turned out to see more than 30 renowned children’s authors from Wales and across the UK in this free festival of storytelling, magic, music and drama with sessions held in both English and Welsh.  

Authors included Hannah Gold, winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2022 for Last Bear, prolific writer and winner of this year’s Carnegie Medal, Manon Steffan Ros, Alex Wharton, 2023-2025 Children’s Laureate Wales, Nia Morais Bardd Plant Cymru 2023-25, multiple award-winner and patron of the Children’s Bookshow Owen Sheers and multiple-winner of the Literature Wales Book of the Year award Caryl Lewis.

Children at activity table

Added to the list of award-winning and prolific children’s authors were Liz Hyder, Catherine Fisher, Casia Wiliam, Rebecca F. John, Ivor Baddiel, Robin Bennett, Lee Newbery, Lesley Parr, Stephanie Burgis, E.L. Norry, Huw Lewis-Jones, Helen and Thomas Docherty and many more.

The Children’s Literature festival was organised in partnership with Save the Children Cymru, the Rhys Davies Trust, Storyopolis, Cover to Cover and the Austin Bailey Foundation.  


A retrospective look at the first ever FREE Swansea Children's Literature festival. Presented by Jon Doyle

What the authors said...

'Brilliant! So much fun and so well run. Super volunteers and a lovely, lovely venue. I feel my heart lifting as I drive into Wales.'

'It really was a very special festival, and I think it was unique in being so inclusive and in showcasing so much of the talent we have here in Wales, or with Welsh connections.'

'What a fantastic festival, so well organised and it had such a lovely buzz about it. And what a fantastic venue! Well done to everyone involved'. 

'That was an amazing festival. I loved every second of it. Thank you so much for inviting me. You and your team were simply the best! And the children were wonderful too! I hope our paths cross again soon!'

'The festival was so well organised, had such a wonderful range of authors and illustrators and an absolutely incredible team of volunteers. I really hope that this is the first such event of many in Swansea and that I can be involved in future years.'    

Alex Wharton onstage
Catherine Barr and Children
Owen Sheers reading
Clara Vulliamy presenting
Mother and daughter creating
Boy drawing artwork on glass window display
Father and two daughters sat at table creating
Father and daughter creating

What our festival goers said...

'Please do it next year again. It was brilliant!'

'I liked the interactive method used to get literature across to children.'

'Great number of events with places for children to relax, colour-in, and get creative.'

'Great to see the Welsh language provided for with a good link to the texts set in the school.'

'A lovely buzz, lots of activities to promote reading, wonderful ambassadors.'

'I liked that it was very easy to meet all the authors - my daughter really enjoyed getting books signed.'

'It was great to get children excited about books and the prospect of it being an accessible option for them in the future.'

'Excellent offering of sessions for all ages with engaging and fun participatory activities! My daughter loved the experience.'

'The variety of authors and illustrators was fantastic. The sessions were all brilliant. The staff were all very helpful.'

'The highly engaging author talks inspired my children and they loved chatting to the authors whilst getting the books signed.'

'Would like it to continue every year and grow.'

'I thought it was a fabulous event. It was amazing to see some authors live, hear some live poetry and have the experience to meet one of our favourite authors afterwards and get our books signed by the real life person who wrote it! My children were completely inspired.'

'We loved everything the authors were inspirational and fun. We came away buzzing with ideas and beautiful books of authors new to us to read.'

'My 9 yr old daughter is starting to read proper books. To meet authors, hear the stories feeds her imagination.'

Saturday interns
Sunday interns

Scroll through more festival images here

Children's Literature Festival 2023