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Brondesbury pupils triumphant as crowds flock to Queen's Park Book Festival

PUBLISHED: 11:52 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:08 01 July 2019

Hugh Pym, Simon Mayo and Hud Saunders with writing award winners Ibrahim Fida and Marcus Denny. Picture: Cathy Teesdale

Hugh Pym, Simon Mayo and Hud Saunders with writing award winners Ibrahim Fida and Marcus Denny. Picture: Cathy Teesdale

Archant

Two Brondesbury primary pupils are the first to be awarded for their writing skills as the sun beat down at a book festival in Queen's Park.

The children's tent at the Queen's Park Book Festival. Picture: Cathy TeesdaleThe children's tent at the Queen's Park Book Festival. Picture: Cathy Teesdale

Budding journalists Marcus Denny and Ibrahim Fida, two 11-year-olds from Malorees Junior School, won the Queen's Park Book Festival Young Writer of the Year award at the event on Sunday.

The two 11-year-olds had no clue they they would be recognised for the article they wrote promoting the festival in their school newspaper TMI (Too Much Information) as they toured the grounds questioning attendees.

The pair, one of 14 reporters on the paper set up by parents at the school, interviewed the festival's community tent curator and compere Hud Saunders who said it was "easily the most enjoyable interview" he's ever done.

Ibrahim, who previously wrote a report on Black History Month, said: "We interviewed him about the community tent, the festival, everything."

Willesden Green's writer broadcaster Shyama Perera with radio dj and author Simon Mayo. Picture: Cathy TeesdaleWillesden Green's writer broadcaster Shyama Perera with radio dj and author Simon Mayo. Picture: Cathy Teesdale

Marcus, whose articles include a factfile on Donald Trump, said: "It's been really fun and exciting.[The festival] is a really great idea. I'm glad it was revived."

The festival was successfully relaunched last year and did not disappoint this weekend with its mix of novelists, poets, broadcasters, comedians and entertainment for children.

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Big names included Ed Miliband who was in conversation with historian David Kynaston about Britain's private schools, Booker Prize winner and comic novelist Howard Jacobson, McMafia writer Misha Glenny and radio DJ Simon Mayo.

The daughter of the late great poet Seamus Heaney, Catherine Heaney, read some of his most memorable works and discuss an upcoming documentary.

Local writers included Willesden poet Elizabeth Uter and among up-and-coming novelists Yvonne Bailey-Smith.

Queen's Park charity Salusbury World sponsored an inspiring conversation with "reluctant refugee" Dina Nayeri in the community stage and refugees comedy troop No Direction Home who were introduced by local Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs.

Abdulwahab Tahhan, of NDH, said: "It was a very unusual crowd, I don't think they were prepared for stand-up but they were laughing and it was great."

Comedian Francesca Martinez also filled the free tent with crowds spilling out of the back.

Mr Saunders said: "The festival was a triumph. It was the most incredible experience on the community stage where everyone gave their time for free. Local is the new rock and roll - who needs Glastonbury when you've got Queen's Park Book Festival?"

Thomas du Plessis, director who reignited the festival with help from the Queens Park Area Residents Association, added: "It's been a fantastic weekend and I'm buzzing. It is such an amazing collection of authors we can celebrate. There are signs of something that's going to be very special year on year. The festival has found it's way."

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