Founded by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, the South Ken Kids Festival celebrates its 20th birthday this year and is taking place from 13th – 19th November 2017 at the Institut français in South Kensington.
Under the patronage of Quentin Blake – who has also given his name to the Children’s Library of the Institut français – the South Ken Kids Festival promotes the best of children’s literature and fosters exchanges between authors and illustrators from both sides of the Channel. It has been supported by Arts Council England since 2014.
“I was lucky enough to be involved in our festival right from the start. I have seen this celebration of writing and reading and drawing grow – it becomes more and more amazing!“ says Quentin Blake.
Open to young audiences from toddlers and their families to Young Adult readers, the South Ken Kids Festival will welcome over 20 newly writers and illustrators from France, the UK, and beyond, alongside booktubers, translators, musicians and actors. They will take part in a great range of educational activities organised with 35 partner schools throughout London, and in public events held at the Institut français, including workshops, talks, live drawing and storytelling, films, music, BookTube reviewing, theatre and book signings.
The festival kicks off with a musical and poetic event celebrating British writer and children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo’s work in presence of French illustrator François Place, talking and drawing live to the sound of Ben Murray’s songs inspired by War Horse.
Live drawing events will bring together star illustrators and rising talents, such as Benji Davies and Kitty Crowther, Aurélie Guillerey and Axel Scheffler, and will culminate in a special birthday live drawing and music jam Impro!, a many-handed performance during which present and past guests of the festival will be drawing live on stage to the sound of Jacques Tellitocci’s vibraphone.
Amongst a total of 30 events and workshops, highlights include a music performance by the world-renowned Gipsy Kings with Chico, a special public appearance of Quentin Blake who will be sharing his love for France, and an evening of music and live drawing with French graphic novelist and illustrator Baudoin, this year’s artist in residence.
Working with 80 French and British children’s publishers, this year’s edition will also have a special strand on digital activities, including workshops with BookTubers Lemon June and Katherine Woodfine, the OKIDO Magazine, and a nationwide BookTubing competition inviting children to record their own video book review.
Bilingual throughout, and even multilingual at times, the programme will have a focus on translation activities with a special talk on the ‘Aarhus 39’ project in partnership with Hay Festival, a multilingual Slam poetry contest and translation workshops.