Sun’s out, fun’s out! Are you ready to Malarkey about this weekend?

Malarkey Park in East Park, home to The Big Malarkey Festival. Photo: Jerome Whittingham, @photomoments

This week school children and teachers have been transported into a world of stories and it’s nearly time for you to join them as Hull’s children’s literature festival prepares to open its gates to the public on Saturday 29 June for a two-day jam-packed programme that will inspire families of all ages.   

This weekend, The Big Malarkey Festival invites you to step into a world of stories and imagination as writers, poets, cartoonists, artists, illustrators, musicians and performers gather in ‘Malarkey Park’, where imagination becomes reality.

Back for its third year, the festival has attracted a host of national and local names. 

From a draw-along with Nick Sharatt (award-winning illustrator of Tracy Beaker and the Jacqueline Wilson books) and storytelling sessions with Amy Thompson (Channel Five Milkshake presenter), to sessions with authors Jim Smith (Barry Loser series), Caroline Lawrence (The Roman Mysteries) and bestselling Young Adult author Lisa Williamson (Paper Avalanche and The Art of Being Normal). 

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Elmer, with the books’ messages of inclusivity, acceptance and friendship still ringing true 30 years on. From meeting Elmer to holding a piece of the Moon to celebrate 50 years since the first Moon landing (a Moon-inspired 2019 fREADom Quest is landing later this summer), there is a lot to celebrate and get excited about at this year’s festival. 

Rebecca Patterson, winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for My Big Shouty Day, will be on site for both the school and public programme, with events inspired by her new fiction series A Moon Girl Stole My Friend.  While Hull’s very own Phil Earle, this year’s writer in residence, will explain how a street in Hull inspired his award-winning Story Street books.

Alongside award-winning authors and illustrators, there will be opportunities to dress up in the festival’s dress up corner and meet colourful characters from Hull’s maritime past and to ask the big questions such as, ‘Does the world ever stop?’, as Hull’s own philosopher and free spirit Lee Harrison attempts to truthfully tackle the big questions that you’ve always wanted to know the answers to. 

Slime by The Herd theatre. Photo: Jerome Whittingham, @photomoments.

Get stuck into workshops, from starting your own novel in just an hour and writing for video games, to making manga masks and a moonscape of what the Moon may look like in 50 years. Hull theatre favourites, The Herd, will also be back as they celebrate the launch of Slime the book, before heading off to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this summer.

The festival culminates on Sunday 30 June with Roald Dahl’s famously hilarious selection of poems Dirty Beasts as you’ve never heard them before. Accompanied by the New London Chamber Ensemble and narrated by Victoria Newlyn, festival attendees will also be able to make a mask or tail to join in the beastly parade.   

Ellen Bianchini, Director of The Big Malarkey Festival, said: “It’s nearly festival time and we can’t wait to once again bring East Park to life with stories, characters and imagination. 

“Hull has many incredible libraries, spread across all the city’s communities and we really hope that not only do families come along for what will no doubt be a fun and enjoyable weekend, but they will be encouraged to access their local library and make use of the wonderful resources they offer. 

“It is fantastic that Hull has its very own children’s literature festival, it is a great opportunity to fuel a child’s thinking and creativity and see how a library card can be a key to a world of imagination.”

Tickets can be purchased online at or from Hull’s libraries. Adult tickets are priced at £5 per day, children’s tickets are £2.50 and under ones go free. On the door they are £6 for adults and £3 for children. Disabled tickets are £4 and include a free carers ticket. 

Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic to enjoy in ‘Malarkey Park’ while refreshments and snacks will be available to purchase from a range of vendors. The weather forecast is looking great so remember your sun lotion and a hat. 

The festival has been awarded funding for the next two years from Arts Council England and the James Reckitt Library Trust and is also supported by Living with Water, KCOM (supporting the festival for a second year) and new sponsor for 2019, McCain Foods.

For further information visit 

[Laura Andrew – Home PR]

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