First News Junior Journalist Competition – Winner announced!

We are delighted to announce our winner to the Junior Journalist competition that we ran in conjunction with First News. Alex Lea, Age 13 submitted the below entry about his experiences of Bath Children’s Literature Festival.

Bath’s Fantastic Literature Festival by Alex Lea, Age 13

The Bath Children’s Literature Festival is one of my favourite events of the year. I always discover new authors when I look through the festival guide. Each year my brother, my sister and I order pretty much all the books (provided we haven’t read them already) from Bath library. In fact, the festival was how I discovered David Almond’s Skellig, which is one of the best books I’ve ever read! I’ve been going to the festival since it started, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it each year.

If I had to pick a favourite, it would be author and illustrator (and champion of libraries and creativity) Chris Riddell. He’s a master storyteller and his political satire is as fearsomely sharp as his pencils. Both Almond and Riddell are back for this year’s festival.

Sadly, Philip Pullman is now unable to attend, but there are plenty of other amazing authors to choose from! I recommend hilarious duo Sarah Mcintyre and Philip Reeve (D2) for younger readers; awe-inspiring Jungle Explorer: Katherine Rundell (K9) for middle grade and wickedly funny and fantastical Sebastien de Castell – Spellslinger! (B18) for age 12+. Thanks to First News for sponsoring the festival again – it makes a huge difference.


Photo: Alex (13), Toby (8) and Izzy (10) Lea with books by some of the authors coming to this year’s literature festival.


We also had some fantastic runners up:

Christopher Cooper, Age 9

I have been going to the Bath Literature Festival for about the last five years.  During those I have seen Michael Rosen who wrote ‘Bear Hunt, Julia Donaldson author of ‘The Gruffulo’ and Terry Deary the person behind ‘Horrible Histories’, amongst others.

Another one of my favourite is Chris Riddell, he was the UK Children’s Laureate between 2015 and 2017. Chris Riddell has written lots of good books from ‘Mr Underbed’ to the ‘Ottoline’ series, my favourite of his are the ‘Goth Girl’ series of books. The final of these; ‘Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony’ came out last year.  Well it might be the last one, but at last year’s festival he sneakily suggested there might be another Goth Girl book one day.

As well as writing these outstanding books, he also draws the pictures in them.  He was kind enough to give out some of his drawings and I was lucky enough to get some, I have two one of Theresa May and one of Michael Rosen.

I can’t wait to see Chris Ridell at this year’s festival where he is talking about his pictures in the new book “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K Rowling.


Photo: Christopher Cooper meeting Chris Riddell


Jack Clary , Age 9

Hi, my name is Jack, I am nine, nearly ten by the time Bath Kids Lit Fest starts!

My favourite part from last year was being a gong farmer at Philip Ardagh’s event.  Chris Riddell also did a nice drawing of Theresa May in a bin, bit political I know, but it was a good drawing/art style.  I normally skip school to go to Bath Kids Lit Fest so it matters even more that I have a good time, and I will, even if I don’t win a press pass!

I also like the Guildhall a lot and the year before last I enjoyed seeing my Dad’s very distant cousin Julian Clary do a talk on the Bolds with David Roberts (who my Mum likes).

I love drawing and it’s nice to see so many fellow illustrators 🙂

This is me, so, you know I am a boy now.

Photo: Jack Clary outside our main festival venue the Guildhall

Photo: Jack Clary being a Gong Farmer at Phillip Ardagh’s event last year

Photo: Jack Clary with Captain Pug author Laura James at last year’s festival


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