Queen’s Park community gearing up for annual book festival

Promises to be the best yet

From poetry to politics, cooking to biography, humour and sport, there’s something for everyone at this year’s Queen’s Park Book Festival.

The festival is organised by volunteers from Queen’s Park Area Residents’ Association and many local organisations and businesses are getting involved in this year’s event.

Kilburn Amnesty, Kensal to Kilburn Transition Town, Queen’s Park Writers and Willesden Green Writers’ Group will be putting on activities from book swaps to community novel writing.

While pupils from Queen’s Park Community School, in Aylestone Avenue, and Salusbury Primary School, in Salusbury Road, are lending their support and working closely with the group to make it more accessible for children and teenagers.

Cassandra Neves, 16, said: “I feel like the school has become a real part of the event and it makes me really proud to be given responsibilities – interviewing Che Golden and Lil Chase will be a brilliant experience.”

Shehnaz O’Mallie, teacher, said: “It’s been great seeing the kids so enthused about celebrating literature. It’s going to be such a fun day.”

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Last year’s inaugural event, headlined by Sebastian Faulks, drew some 800 people to the marquees in Queen’s Park and was so successful that this year’s has been expanded to two days on May 19 and May 20 and will feature some 40 authors.

They include Kate Summerscale, Philip Hensher, Alexandra Shulman, Natalie Haynes, Phillip Hensher, Harriet Walter, Robert Muchamore, Dean Atta, Edwyn Collins, Marina Lewycka, Maggie Gee, Simon Day and Melissa Benn.

Many are local to the neighbourhood and for some this will be their second appearance.

Children can take part in a competition to design a book jacket. To enter just pick up an entry form from Queen’s Park Books, in Salusbury Road, where you can also pick up tickets.

Kilburn Library will have festival authors’ books available for loan and if you borrow them now you can keep them until September 17 when the library re-opens after refurbishment.

And to keep you going through the day Sophie Grey, of Crazy Baker, in Harrow Road, will be selling her delicious pastries, sandwiches and cakes.

Elaine Henderson, member of QPRA who runs I Spy in Queen’s Park blog, said: “The book festival is all about sharing a love of books and reading, about finding out that your neighbour loves thrillers as much as you do, hearing what inspired an author, or how to go about getting your own work published.

“We’re inviting the whole community along and we are thrilled that pupils and teachers from Queen’s Park Community School and Salusbury Primary School are closely involved.

“Last year we shared the small surplus from the festival between local schools to help them buy more books, and we hope to do the same again.”

Tickets cost �10 a day and �8 concessions. Alternatively you can pay �15 for the weekend in advance only or become a Festival Friend by donating �25 to keep the event affordable and you will get a free weekend ticket. Under 18s get in free.

Tickets are on sale from Queen’s Park Books, 87 Salusbury Road, Queen’s Park, which can be contacted by calling 020 7625 1008.

Why not become a Festival Friend by donating �25 to help us keep the event affordable for everyone and get a free weekend ticket.

To find out more visit www.qpark.org.uk